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on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 8:20 am by Radley Balko
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The most amazing part of the video was the part where a dog jumped up on a LEO and sniffed her and she didn’t shoot and kill it. I was genuinely shocked by that.
Helmut O' Hooligan |
August 21st, 2012 at 12:54 pm
“At times all of us envy the animals. They suffer and die, but they do not seem to make a ‘problem’ of it. Their lives seem to have so few complications. They eat when they are hungry and sleep when they are tired, and instinct rather than anxiety seems to govern their few preparations for the future. As far as we can judge, every animal is so busy with what he is doing at the moment that it never enters his head to ask whether life has a meaning or a future. For the animal, happiness consists in enjoying life in the immediate present–not in the assurance that there is a whole future of joys ahead of him.”
Alan Watts in “The Wisdom of Insecurity”
Thank you for sharing this video, Radley. It was very moving.
Pet therapy is also available in the hospital where I work. Whether you are an inmate or a patient you are temporarily removed from your community. All too often, experiences like this cause one to be consumed by their fears of what tomorrow may bring. A feeling of isolation also may occur. Spending time with dogs can really reduce your stress. I certainly feel less stressed when I am with my dog.
As Watts suggests, dogs can give us a glimpse of what it is like to be present in the moment and not consumed with a past that is already gone or a future that does not, in reality, exist. They may also remind us of our intimate connection to the natural world. It is harmful to view ourselves as completely separate from the environment which nourishes us. It is dangerous to take the view that we must dominate nature and other people. It is precisely this view that has produced war, bigotry, mass incarceration and degradation of the environment. Why dominate when you can cooperate? Destroy others, destroy the environment and your are ultimately destroying yourself. It would be wonderful if the inmates–and their guards–could learn this lesson.
I’ll be damned. It’s that one time in a million when government – and *cops*, at that! – stumble into a win-win situation, and somehow don’t screw it up. Oh, sure, I only give it 5 years or until a new hardass Sheriff gets elected, but still: it always nice to read about an unexpected minor miracle now & then, ain’t it? Especially when dogs get loved/saved/adopted because of it!!
Oh, wow. Thank you so much for this. I am a long time Agitator reader and fan, and have been involved with Jail Dogs since its inception in February 2010. I feel like we’ve made the big time now. =)
Sheriff Conway, the Gwinnett Sheriff, is the real deal. He has a pit he personally rescued from NO when he and a team of his deputies went down to assist after Katrina; he’s put up his own money as incentive to bust dogfighters; and Gwinnett is the cleanest and most professionally run jail in the metro Atlanta area. Jail Dogs was his idea; he’s put up his unit and his staff to make it happen, in partnership with the rescue I work with. We’ve saved over 120 dogs from euthanasia since we’ve started. Coincidentally, the Sheriff is the most popular elected official in the county by a very large margin; I don’t think he’ll be voted out anytime soon (no one even bothers to run against him).
One of the neatest things about the program is talking to the inmate handlers, about how the dogs and their needs have changed these guys’ worldviews totally around. We can’t really track recidivism because it’s a jail and not a prison, but anecdotally, we think we’re making a difference for them. They really do love the dogs, and while it’s hard for them when they’re adopted out, they know that it’s the best thing for the dogs. We’ve adopted some dogs to handlers once they’ve been released as well.
Again, thank you so much for the post. Love from Brauny, Dizzy, Autumn, Stormy, Hank Williams, Kit Kat, Buffy, Hoss, Midnight, Jaka, Sampson, Brillo, Scarlett, Chico, Loki, Queenie and Salsa.