We often think of dogs as being lovable (and loving) family pets. But our canine friends are capable of much more than that. Highly-trained service dogs can help people with various disabilities lead more independent and dignified lives than they otherwise could. One fine example of this is a yellow Labrador named Pax. He’s made a huge difference for Bill Campbell, a veteran of the Iraq War who suffered a concussive brain injury.
You’d never guess who trained Pax. It was Laurie Kellogg, an inmate at the Bedford Hill Correctional Facility for Women. Located in Westchester County, it’s the only maximum security prison for women in New York’s state prison system.
Bill was so grateful for all that Pax had done for him that he wanted to meet the dog’s trainer. He also thought that she and Pax deserved to have a reunion. When they arrived at the prison, Pax immediately recognized where they were and started getting worked up. When he saw Laurie, his old trainer, he went totally bonkers, running over, jumping like crazy, and demanding hugs. Seeing the dog she’d spent so much time working with, was highly emotional for Laurie.
Next up for Bill and Pax was a chance to meet the other inmates who are involved in service dog training. As Laurie explained, “I knew when they told me he was going to go into PTSD training, that he would give somebody the sense of freedom that he gave me, in a place where I was supposed to be everything but. He gave me back pieces of myself that I forgot even existed. And when he left me, when they told me he was going to you, Bill, I sat on my floor and cried. And I realized that by giving me Pax, and by taking him from me, they’d given me the greatest gift anyone had ever given me my entire life.”
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