I Went To Prison For A Puppy

16 07 2009

PrisonPuppy

From the second we bought this house, with it’s pre-fenced yard, Honey wanted a dog.

I’m talking Rudy from the Cosby Show wanted a dog. Visits to the animal shelter every few weeks. Less-than-subtle hints that a dog would make the house so much homier. Only, I would rather have pulled my teeth with a pair of rusty pliers than shared my  house with an animal. After college, I had roommates who brought home a Shit-zoo puppy (not a typo…this rabid furball was a shit factory). I hated that dog. It stunk. It chewed up books, furniture, rugs. It yapped. It peed. It made “home” all the less homey. Besides, neither Honey nor I work close enough to the house to go home mid-day for doggy doo-doo breaks, and we travel a lot, so a dog made as much sense as as a screen door on a submarine.

But Honey persisted, pointing out the well-behaved and hygienic animals that various friends and family had. Slowly my stance changed from “I’d rather floss my teeth with rusty barbed wire.” to “I’ll think about it.”

Then, while surfing a pet finding website I found what appeared to be an ideal dog! Already a year old, cute as could be, hypoallergenic, and housetrained! What more could we ask for? It satisfied all of my criteria. I showed Honey, and we agreed it looked like a great pet! But of course it wasn’t as simple as calling up and saying “We’ll take it!” Oh no.

The dog was being trained at a nearby prison. That’s right, a prison.  CNN did a story on a similar program recently. After filling out the required paperwork, (They wanted more information than our mortgage broker had) we were invited to visit the dog. At the prison. Of course, the visit was to happen when Honey was out of town. So, despite the fact that I had as much desire for a dog as a grumpy housecat has, it was left to me to haul my ass into the middle of nowhere, North Carolina, to visit this pooch at the penetentiary. Luckily, a friend agreed to tag along with me, and so we set off for the hour and a half drive to the prison.

As the navigation system chanted off it’s directions, we moved deeper and deeper into the mountains of rural North Carolina. I was fairly certain that reenacting scenes from “Deliverance” was what the local folk did when they weren’t at the Baptist churches that dotted the roadway every quarter of a mile or so, and I wondered what I might do to make my mouth less “purty” if we found ourselves face to face with a resident of one of the trash-strewn trailers along the way.

“They all look like they have been built from the same set of plans!” I remarked as we passed the 62nd red brick, white columned Baptist church. We decided that on the way back, we would count the Baptist churches for fun. (I recall there were 41 in the 30 mile stretch of country road–just the Baptist ones, mind you. That doesn’t count the dozen or more “heathen flocks” of Methodists or Presbyterians.)

Finally, we arrived at the prison, an unforboding structure that might have passed for a high school were it not for the razor wire fences and warning signs. All visitors were to check in at the Warden’s office–which naturally sat in a converted mobile home in the parking lot. A prison guard pointed us in the direction of a grassy area bordering the woods and said the dogs would be brought out in a few moments. Literally dozens of other people joined us before the dogs (and their trainers) were brought out. There may have been five or six pooches there to meet and greet, but every single one of the visitors was there to see “Shaggy” the same dog we had come for. The program coordinator relayed that she had never had such a response, getting several hundred applications for Shaggy from all over the United States.  I was disheartened. It turns out Shaggy was a designer dog–a CacaPoo or Yorkiedoodle or BichonBeagle or something, and to get a trained one for almost nothing meant he was in high demand.

We met his trainer, a young man who looked the part of  a convict. I was really amazed at the sense of pride and accomplishment this downtrodden young man had as he showed the group the tricks Shaggy had already learned. In fact, all of the trainers beamed with a sense of purpose and pride as they showed off their animals. My apprehension about being at prison was gone, and it was plain to see that the prisoners were benefitting from the program much more than the pooches.

The trainers gave each of us a handful of treats and encouraged us to interact with the dogs. I remain convinced that one woman had rubbed herself head to toe with bacon before making the journey that day. Shaggy would come to each of us just long enough to get his treats, and then rush back to Miss Bacon to lick her face and hands. I was convinced (correctly, it would turn out) that I had not made any sort of an impression on either the dog or the folks who would decide who got to take him home. Some two months later, I got a form email that said in many words what I already knew–the dog was not ours.

We actually DID get a dog before that email came though. That’s another story altogether, but it’s a tale for another day.

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22 responses

16 07 2009
queenofphrump

We had never owned a dog before. At least I hadn’t. It became clear that we would be needing one for our daughter who loved dogs more than air. We chose one that weighs 4 pounds fully grown (poops less and needs no daily walks) and she has hair not fur with NO shedding. She is also a blend of breeds so she doesn’t have strong annoying traits of usual small dogs. It is like owning a cat with a dog personality without any fur anywhere. SWEET! In two weeks time we are gaining another from the same family.

16 07 2009
The Vinyl Villager

what kind of miracle animal is this??

19 07 2009
queenofphrump

MIniature Malti-Poo. If anyone wants a referral for where to find one let me know and I can send you to a good place.

19 07 2009
michelle

Yes please refer me!
Thank you!

19 07 2009
queenofphrump

I must say that I have tried to get a dog from the shelter before with little success. We brought home the dog from hell and had him for two weeks before my husband literally made me choose between him and the dog so I took the dog back to the shelter. Only then did I learn this dog had been taken back before…. I do not want to give shelter dogs a bad rap but I want to justify purchasing a dog too.

I researched of and on for a year before I found a little small dog breeder who cares deeply about where her puppies go and while we did have to prove to her that we were good candidates for providing a home it wasn’t a bad experience. She is not running a puppy mill and I have profound respect for what happens by adopting from her.

Contact Teresa at http://www.heavenlypuppies.com She just adopted out the three mini-malti-poos that were born in May (one of them is ours!) but let her put you on the next waiting list. Tell her Claire sent you. It will be worth your money to get what he have. Every dime because we get the perfect dog and I get to keep my husband too.

20 07 2009
Michelle

Thank you!

16 07 2009
The Incredible Woody

Reminds me of Vol Fan’s visit to the state pen when he delivered potato chips. He was low man on the totem pole so he got stuck with the route that visited the pen. Did you know you have to be strip searched to deliver potato chips to prison? It was the maximum security one but still!!

Vol Fan didn’t last long delivering potato chips.

17 07 2009
The Vinyl Villager

Strip search might have been a good idea Woody, particularly if he was wearing a uniform that said “Frito lay”

16 07 2009
michelle

Yes, yes, yes please tell, what kind of miracle dog is this!

My daughter wants a dog so bad! And against my better judgement I made out an application to get one with a rescue group. These people obviously have no power anywhere else except for doggie world. I have been through background investigations that involved FBI screenings that have been less intense. Amazingly enough I have clearance to look up FBI information about people but I was denied owning a dog, lol!!! Guess why?… I have kids lol, they would not under any circumstances let me have a dog if I had kids, go figure…

17 07 2009
The Vinyl Villager

thats nuts! Why?? One of the rescues we considered made it sound like they wouldnt give a dog to anyone who had to leave it home alone during the day. Only the retired, disabled, and independantly wealthy need apply.

17 07 2009
That’s so ghetto award – and the winner is … « The Girl from the Ghetto

[…] Deliverence Country to adopt a dog that he didn’t want.  Please, read his entire post here and tell him TGFTG sent […]

17 07 2009
thegirlfromtheghetto

I loved this.

And, this blog award is for you, enjoy it, display it, embrace it.

http://thegirlfromtheghetto.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/thats-so-ghetto-award-and-the-winner-is/

17 07 2009
JavaQueen

We, as a family decided on a SHIT ZU as well- big mistake. What a suborned asshole he turned out to be. After demanding to shit on our deck (not the grass), snapping at the kids, and literally giving me the “f-u” look when I asked him to go down to the grass- it was time to go. He went to a loving home. My daughter cried while I rejoiced inside.

I’m glad you and your honey wound up with a nice dog after all! TGFTG sent me here and I’m glad, your blog is fun 😉

17 07 2009
The Vinyl Villager

JavaQueen, I’m so glad you stopped by! I just love TGFTG! Wound up with a nice dog?? Not quite…you’ll have to tune in for that story later!

17 07 2009
Philly

I love my dog and you will too !! She is my best buddy and I chat with her all day long. She is the princess of the house.

#1

17 07 2009
Alan

Cacapoo? LOL!!!

Nice story…and my dog Barkley is a huge part of our family. Almost like a second son to us. And just as crazy as a child…

17 07 2009
The Vinyl Villager

Ya know, Ive seen pics of your pooch, and he looks a lot like this designer prison pooch, just a different color. What kind is he again?

17 07 2009
michelle

No clue really, but what is funny is that I completed the application and had to wait for their board, about 5 dried up old ladies, to “convene” so they could discuss me to see if I would be good for their puppy. They wouldn’t approve me but still bitched about the overhead for caring for the dog, well I say it would be cheaper to approve people who want to adopt rather deny because of petty BS.

17 07 2009
The Vinyl Villager

Michelle…when I tell you about the dog we did get, Ill have to delve into the whole application process more. They wanted vet references, personal references, etc. etc. I mean, I could fly across the world and get a child with less aggravation.

17 07 2009
michelle

Lol, I bet… Crazy how these rescues what everything… Surprised they didn’t ask for a little blood too just to genetically test to make sure you don’t have any diseases that would hinder your ability to care for the dog for at a minimum of 50 years! This one group I ran into required that you submit copies of doggie health insurance with a dental plan before they would hand over the dog! Crazy maybe?

21 07 2009
cuteasasa

My current little angle came to me as a foster. He is a doll and has seen me through a couple of very hard years what with my Momma being officially (courts in agreement) bat shit crazy. (She’s earned it at 85.) BUT, while I was fostering this little guy, who I knew from day 2 was never leaving, I had a Lhasa Apso who was doggie bat shit crazy. One second he was loving and adorable, the next second he was Cujo. He treed my SO up the leather recliner one night and that was it. He moved on to the next foster shortly thereafter. I love dogs. I actually feel sorry for those who do not have them in their lives. But you have to have the right fit. The little guy I have right now is an angle in fur.

23 07 2009
trailerparkbarbie

This post brings to mind 2 things….

1. I have a perfectly healthy dog that you can have! I’ll even bring him to ya!!!! He is a little hyper as you know. TPKen has been feeling really bad with his high blood pressure and the med side effects. So, I had to venture out on Monday evening to feed the dog. The dog is really sweet and would not hurt a flea BUT he gets OVERLY EXCITED when a person appears near him. I swear, I had to do a marathon run to get the food to him without getting knocked down and licked from head to foot. I “dropped food bowl and ran”. Dayam…that dog is fast.

2. When you started talking about going into that prison, it brings to mind my MIL and your G going with her church to minister at Mt. Olive. She really likes it. She had to have fingerprinting done and is subject to a body search every time. I think that she found her niche in old age. Don’t you?

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