You are now training a dog for the Four Paws For Ability Program. Tell us about your dog.
Chantilly is a little over three months old and she’s awesome. She’s playful; she’s cute; she’s adorable. I mean, she listens very well. I have to tell her maybe once or twice about something, and she listens. She learns very fast. She’s a cuddler. She likes to cuddle in the middle of the night. Yeah, she’s a big cuddler.
Does the puppy stay with you all the time? If so, how does that work?
She is with me or my cellie all the time, yes. We take turns taking her outside, so she can use the bathroom. The only time that she isn’t with us is when we go to chow. We have a puppy kennel that is in the cell with us, so we put her in there just long enough for us to go to chow. But as soon as we come back, I let her out.
Other than the kennel, what kinds of things do you have for her?
Well, they gave us multiple toys for her; they gave us treats for her…dog food, little poopy bags, so that we can clean her poop up. *laughs* We got dishes for her food and her water [Josh meant bowls],…a Frisbee, so we can play that with her, leashes, and a fan. I don’t know what type of fan that is. It’s called a cyclone. That way, we can keep her cool.
How long do you get to work with her?
I get to have her for six weeks.
What will Chantilly go on to do after she is trained by you?
We really don’t know. On the paperwork, though, it says she’ll be used for breeding purposes. But the program Four Paws uses dogs for a variety of purposes. They have seizure dogs, and dogs that help with many other disabilities. Every dog is trained differently…for a certain purpose.
Chantilly is an interesting name. Who named her?
I don’t know. That was the name that was already wrote down. I can only assume that someone either at Four Paws or maybe the individual that the dog is going to named her. I really don’t know. I just know it’s a unique name.
Tell us a little story about her; something that happened today.
Oh, today I had the greatest moment ever. She slept all through the night. So, she’s very trained. She is so young, and she still hasn’t used the bathroom inside. But the greatest thing so far was when my alarm went off at 6 o’clock. I leaned up, and that was her cue. Like, she knew I was up now and she automatically hopped up in front of me and started gently, just gently licking on my face to get me up. Like, she was so happy. Like “Yeah, he’s up.” *chuckles* Yeah, that was the best part today. I am not giving her back…
Are you afraid of that moment when you have to give her back?
No, because I know that she is being trained for a certain purpose, and I know that whoever she is going to will need her more than I do.
What would you say to the people at Four Paws who make this program possible for you?
A very basic thing: Thank you! It’s been so long that I’ve been in prison, and this experience…just the last couple of days…have been the greatest since I’ve been locked up. She just places a smile on everybody’s faces. It’s awesome. I can’t stop smiling. Not only does it help the inmate that has her, but also everyone around. And it’s not only helping the inmates, but the program is teaching a beautiful dog, and it’s great for the individual that will get the dog one day.
We also asked Josh to describe Chantilly in three words. Here's an audiorecording of his answer. Click "download" in order to listen to it. Chantilly In Three Words