New Dogs Arrive

Steven & Joker

The time in between sessions varies.
Last time it was 7 months. That’s way too long.
This time it was 3 days! That’s very exciting.
Max left on Thursday.
I got a new dog on Monday.
They called five of us to Master Control to pick up our new dogs.
The excitement was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
As we waited, we anxiously looked through the razor wire fence and down the long walkway in which the dogs would be coming.
The 27 minute wait seemed like hours! The moment of truth was here…we could see the pack of dogs headed our way.
One guy quickly said, ”Ohhh man, I hope I get that white American Bulldog with the brindle spots.”
Another guy said, ”I want that Golden Retriever!”
My eyes were drawn to the brendle Boxer/Pitbull mix.
”Please God, give me that one” , I prayed.
There was also a Husky/Shepard mix, and way in the back was
an old black lab/mix who walked very slow with a severe limp.
No one said it, but everyone thought it, ”man, I hope I don’t get that one.”
The volunteers finally made it through the gates and into the prison.
They stood before us with all the dogs as one lady read from a predetermined list. One by one I watched each dog get assigned
to a handler.
My excitement turned to disappointment when she said, ”Mr. Jennings, you get Joker.” It happened. I got the old black lab/mix. The least desirable dog of the session. His tail was chewed off, and three of his paws were badly damaged…all scabbed up with open wounds and fresh blood in certain areas.
Then I learned his story. This 10 year old dog was found in his home with his deceased owner. The man had been dead for several days. Joker got so stressed out that he chewed off half his tail. Then he started on his paws.
Luckily someone discovered the situation before he could chew off his paws.
Joker ended up with some folks who really didn’t want a 10 year old mutt
who was all chewed up, could barely walk, and oozing blood everywhere.
So they tried killing him by feeding him a bottle of Tylenol.
Upon hearing this, I felt ashamed of myself for being so selfish.
How dare I not want a dog who desperately needs what I have to offer…
love and compassion. It took Joker to remind me why I got in this program in the first place…to help save dogs. To make a difference in the lives of living, breathing beings. To give back to society.
It dawned on me that Joker was assigned to me for a specific reason.
And that is because no one can and will love him like I will.
I am dedicated and committed to Joker 100 percent as I put all my heart and soul into this beautiful, loving, sweet dog.
I’ve had Joker for 5 days now, and he’s already doing much better.
I cleaned his wounds and gave him a long overrdue bath.
Every night I rub ointment on his wounds.
I spent over a hour cleaning his teeth and scraping away tarter.
I take him with me everywhere I go. And when he can’t come with me, like to the chow hall, or the shower, I take him to someone who will watch him.
Because if he’s left alone, for even 2 minutes, he’ll nibble at his scabs.
I spend hours laying on the floor with him, holding him, kissing his nose, whispering in his ears as I massage his neck and face. I tell him I love him and that I’ll take good care of him.
His mat is by my bed, so I can lay here and touch him, and pet him all throughout the night. I’ll reach down with both hands and cradle his head as I lift his face up to mind for some sweet talk and a few kisses. His nose is warm and dry and very kissable.
I’ll be laying in bed as I reach down and scratch under his chin and on his throat as he sleeps. He’ll stretch his neck out as he keeps his eyes closed, then he’ll stretch his paws forward as he semi turns on his back and puts a paw in the air. I’ll hold that paw with my other hand.
The bottom of his paws are very soft. I assume he was a house dog who never went outside. He has zero muscle mass and sometimes his back half falls over when we walk. Because of his soft paws, I walk him on the grass.
I help him up and down the stairs, although he’s getting better everyday and can now do it himself. We go slow and I cheer him on.
He knows: sit, down, come, stay crate, and mat. He’s pretty smart and very responsive. We’re working on ”heel” as it’s pretty evident he hasn’t walked on a leash in years, if ever! The old man had him since a pup and probably kept him in the house as a companion.
Whatever his story is, he’s with me now. I’ll cherish our time together as he teaches me how to love in a way I’ve never known. I’m realizing that I need him just as much as he needs me. The lessons he’s teaching me will last a life time and be used over and over to serve those whom I can help.
A ”thank you” to Joker and to the one who assigned him to me.
I am blessed and honored by this wonderful opportunity.

Check out my ebook “IMMACULATE OBEDIENCE: How To Train Any Dog


Steven Jennings


Author: Steven & Suzie Jennings

She was raised as a Mormon, and he is a convict serving 43 years in prison. This blog offers a glimpse into two vastly different worlds that somehow came crashing together. Join them on their journey through prison life & married life.

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