When my eyes popped open on Wednesday morning, I slipped immediately into total girl mode. On my very first day at the Windham Correctional Facility as dog trainer for the Paws in Stripes program, all I could think of was "what the hell am I going to wear?"
It was while I was trying to figure out what to wear, that I was hit with a wave of panic.
Let's all take a trip back to the absolutely scariest first day of school, or perhaps a grueling job interview. Remember that deep churning pit that used to be a stomach? Your palms that sweat ice? Well then you almost know how I felt Wednesday morning when my brain tried to wrap around the fact that I was going to jail. Instead of the usual Java Jolt, I opted for calming tea, and after much deliberation, I went with black jeans, a shirt that my mother gave me, and sneakers with no makeup.
I arrived promptly at 9:15 for orientation, and filled out a fair amount of paperwork while going over all the do's and don'ts with a staff member. Clothing was discussed and I was told that what I was wearing was "perfect" and that I should never wear jeans with a white or gray shirt, or I will look too much like an inmate. I should not wear any clothes with my dog training business logo and no jewelry. Here is the best part...
Revealing clothing and the showing of cleavage was not recommended.
I looked at her mananged a nervous laugh and gave her my best,
I was told to never share personal information, and to be beware of people who may try t
Shortly before the Buxton puppy mill seizure, I was contacted by Susan Britt at the Animal Refuge League to help out with the Paws in Stripes program at the Windham Correctional Facility.
The program has been in existence for just over 1 year and it has been a success for both the shelter dogs and the inmates. At this time they are expanding the training portion of the program and the inmates will be working with me 1x a week with the goal of the shelter dogs passing the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. This will help to make the dogs more adoptable while better utilizing the inmates training time.
Our plans were put on hold for the last six months or so, while the shelter worked tirelessly taking care of the Buxton dogs as well as two other puppy mills that were shut down.
We are now back on track and today was my second official meeting, and the first with a prison representative. My next step, is a four hour orientation at the prison, and then we will be good to go. I have been given permission to blog it. It should be noted that no tax dollars fund this program.
Paws in Stipes was featured on 207. Click here to watch the great clip! Just give it a minute to get to the prison segment.
You can read more about the Paws in Stripes program here on the Portland Press Herald and here on the ARL web site.
As the official tester dog, Finney will get to come to.
This blog wishes Susan Britt, former director of the ARL, the very best in her new job. We were all lucky to have you here! Paws in Stripes was one of the many programs that Susan directed, and she is already sorely missed.