Bill Campbell, a veteran of the war in Iraq, returned home after suffering a concussive brain injury. This left him disabled but at least he had a service dog, a yellow Labrador named Pax who has made an incredible difference in his life. Dogs are capable not only of being lovable and loving pets, but they can serve as working dogs, helping people with all sorts of disabilities.
Laurie Kellogg was an inmate at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Westchester County. It’s the only maximum-security prison for women operated by the state of New York. She was Pax’s unlikely trainer.
Campbell wanted to meet the person who had trained his dog and also give the dog a chance to have a reunion with her. When they arrived, Pax immediately realized where they were and became very excited. When he saw his former trainer, Pax went absolutely bonkers, running over to her, jumping up and down and demanding hugs. Laurie was clearly overwhelmed by her reunion with the dog she’d spent so much time working with.
Campbell and Pax then went to meet other inmates who are involved in training service dogs. There, 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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