Zoe Leaves

I woke up at 6am with Zoe by my side. She was still sleeping. I touched my nose to her nose and her eyes opened. ”Good morning” I whispered, as I do every morning. She just looks at me. I kiss her nose and massage her neck and ears as I say, ”You’re a good girl. Yes you are. Good girl Zoe.”

Our bond is strong. It has to be, because Zoe has severe doggy aggression. She acts like she wants to kill other dogs. She’s intense. That’s why she was pulled from her original handlers and assigned to me.

The concern is she might go after her handler when correcting her aggressive behavior. I understand that.

That’s why I spent extra time bonding with her, loving on her, and hand feeding her. It only took a few days before I felt like I could completely trust her in any situation. Thats when I started her Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT).

I started from far away and gradually brought her closer to other dogs. For every successful step I’d praise and reward her. For every trigger I’d give her a leash correction and redirect.

Within a few days we were walking side by side with all the other dogs. If Zoe even looked at another dog I’d say, ”Leave It!” and she’d look up at me. I’d praise and reward that.

Her progress was significant. She was getting better by the day.
For three week I’d spend a minimum of 6 hours training her.
She knows all her basic commands and then some.

At 8:30 this morning I was informed that Zoe was leaving. I was told that a mistake was made and she wasn’t even suppose to come in to begin with. They told me she’d be leaving at 10am.

My heart sunk. I felt like crying. Maybe I did.
I spent my last 90 minutes with Zoe in our cell.
We played, ate treats, and had lots of fun.

Then I pulled her up on my lap and held her like a baby.
I told her I love her and what an honor it was to meet her and work with her.
I thanked her for everything she taught me and for blessing my life with love and joy.

For the last time we left the cell together. I didn’t ask her to sit. She just did. We went to the jpay and took this last picture. Then we went outside and waited for her ride to show up. It did, and now she’s gone.

 

Steven Jennings

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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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