I’m so blessed to be in this program. Hundreds applied from two facilities, and there were only two positions available.
The odds of me getting selected were 1 out of several hundred. With odds like that, I knew I had to tap into a higher power and find a way to differentiate myself from the pack.
The first thing I did was meditate on the following mantra:
My Word is a Word of Power, for I know it comes from a higher power within me. My word shall accomplish and prosper, and shall do good unto all who hear my voice or read my words. My word is a tower of strength and cannot be denied. It is complete and perfect here and now. My Word comes from the Spirit of Christ.
After that, I filled out the Brigadoon Dog Program Application. This was my first opportunity to use powerful words and set myself apart. Here’s what I wrote:
WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE WITH ANIMALS?
I’ve trained and healed dogs and birds. I have experience in Positive Reinforcement Clicker Training. I love and respect all living souls, especially animals. All my experiences with animals have been magical, life changing, and extremely positive.
WHAT CAN YOU BRING TO THE PROGRAM?
I can bring a positive, enthusiastic, loving attitude packed with leadership abilities that are ready and willing to lead by example and help others reach their full potential. I’m eager to go above and beyond, to be an asset, and to set high standards for others to follow.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE IN THIS PROGRAM?
I am specifically leaving SCCC (Stafford Creek Corrections Center) and Freedom Tails, to join the prestigious Brigadoon Program. I embrace and admire the disciplined structure, accountability, and elite training techniques. This is an opportunity to build an extraordinary culture that revolves around respect, discipline, and dignity for both man and dog. I want to a part of that. Please.
IF YOU COULD BE A DOG, WHAT BREED AND WHY?
An Australian Shepherd with one blue eye. Because they are great family dogs. Very loving, bold, alert, confident, independent, smart, and responsive to their humans. They are perfect for outdoors, athletic with great stamina. And perfect for indoors with their protective nature and medium build. And oh, did I mention they’re absolutely gorgeous!
After submitting my application, I followed up by writing a letter to the person who reviews the applications and does the selecting. Here’s what I wrote:
I feel compelled to write you for the purpose of articulating my goals and desires in regards to Brigadoon.
I believe with all my heart that I have the talent and character to be the best Brigadoon Dog Trainer in all the land. Not only do I want to produce top notch dogs, but I also want to help produce top notch dog trainers.
I am committed to excellence in everything I do. I’m neat, tidy, clean, and organized. I pay close attention to every detail and I strive to bring out the best in others.
I’ve coached several softball teams to Championships, so I have vast experience working with a variety of personalities. I’m able to altering my approach based on individual temperment, thus getting the best out of each person.
It would be a honor and privilege to be in your prestigious program. If selected, I promise to always give my very best and to go above and beyond for the greater good of the entire program and everyone involved.
I’m currently working with some of the best Brigadoon handlers here at SCCC as they teach me the Brigadoon way. In addition to ”hands on” training, I’ve also received the following forms in which I’m studying:
Brigadoon service dog training sheet
Priority behaviors for Brigadoon service dogs
Four rules for stimulus control
The 10 laws for shaping
Strengthening the cue
Loose leash walking
Brigadoon public access test
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for your consideration.
After sending that letter, I just knew I was going to get selected. And I did!
Matthew 9:29, According to your faith will it be done to you.
So now, here I am at WCC (Washington Corrections Center) waiting for dogs to arrive. The last group of dogs got pulled because the guys weren’t training them properly. Those guys got fired. So I felt compelled to reassure the lady who owns Brigadoon that she now has someone who will meet and possibly exceed her expectations.
This lady is not prison staff and has nothing to do with the process of selecting inmate dog handlers. She is the person who breeds, raises, and owns the dogs. She is the person who will pull the dogs if they aren’t progressing adequately.
I hope she’s not skeptical of bringing in more dogs because of the last group of guys who ultimately got fired. Maybe I should write her a letter. Aw yes, why not? My words are powerful and they produce results. I will pray and meditate before I write, because I know that prayer is the greatest source of preparation.
HERE’S MY LETTER TO THE HEAD OF BRIGADOON:
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Steven Jennings, I’m at WCC, and I’ve been given the opportunity to participate in your prestigious, well respected Brigadoon Dog Program.
Before arriving here at WCC on 4-22-19, I spent a month with your SCCC guys. They did an amazing job teaching me the Brigadoon way. I got to work with Sir, Champ, Cienna, and Hondo as they taught me your techniques, cues, and expectations. Such as: How to correctly hold the leash, where to place the treat bag, how to properly give a treat as to not cross feed and to make the treat magically appear.
In addition to hands on training, I’ve also watched 6 DVD’s, read 4 pamphlets, and 4 books…all donated and endorsed by Brigadoon. Furthermore, I do have past experience in Positive Reinforcement Clicker Training.
I’ve received, studied, and understand the following handouts:
Brigadoon Service Dog Training Sheet
Priority Behaviors For Brigadoon Service Dogs
Four Rules For Stimulus Control
The 10 Laws For Shaping
Strengthening The Cue
Loose Leash Walking
Brigadoon Public Access Test
The SCCC guys also showed me their Training Logs and how to document all the training that goes in to these amazing dogs.
It is an honor and privilege to be in your privileged program. I promise you that I won’t let you down. As a matter of fact, it is my goal and strong desire to exceed your high expectations and to be amongst the best of your top trainers.
I am committed to excellence in everything I do. I am meticulous, precise, and very detail oriented. I believe in structure, discipline, and accountability. I understand Dog Psychology and the Science behind Positive Reinforcement Clicker Training.
I look forward to meeting you, and producing a top notch, awesome dog to represent your amazing brand…Brigadoon!
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Steven Jennings #727504
I’m confident that this letter will have a positive effect and dogs will be coming very soon.
Meanwhile, I’ve been getting this place in tip top shape for the dogs. I’ve completely cleaned and reorganize a cluttered, and overgrown potty area. I got it to where we laid down fresh top soil and new lawn seed.
Within a few weeks I’ll have that area looking like a golf course putting green. Guaranteed!
My cell is immaculate! Fresh paint, clean floor, and very spacious since it only has one bunk in it. I love that! My dog will be my celly. No more humans!
I cleaned and disinfected all the crates, toys, collars, blankets, rugs, mats, and dishes. No one tells me to do these things, I just do it. I lead by example and it gains me the respect of my peers and staff.
Colossians 3:23, Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men.
Proverbs 16:3, Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 28:25, He who trusts in the Lord will prosper.
I’d like to conclude by thanking my Lord Jesus Christ for his practical teachings. For when I follow them, and obey His commands, GREAT THINGS HAPPEN!
Glory to God.