Just viewed Dogs on the Inside. If you haven't seen it yet, I strongly recommend you do.
This documentary follows the steps taken in a program called Don’t Throw Us Away, designed to match recently rescued dogs with convicts behind bars. In the process, the canines and prisoners do each other a world of good. Throughout the video, you get to see a whole lot of two-legged and four-legged creatures helping each other make progress in their lives.
The dynamics of the program? Inmates, living in a restricted and mostly negative environment, get to have some power and control over how they conduct their daily life, interacting in a positive way with another living creature, the dog they are fostering. Man and beast share a cell (It occurred to me that most likely only the humans felt imprisoned. Dogs adapt better to their living situation, as long as a caring human is nearby. Besides, for these dogs, jail was a step up from where they had been).Do the canines have a positive impact on their convicted caretakers? For me, the sight of a convict allowing himself to be filmed kissing a dog answers that question. Meanwhile, the dogs, many rescued from horrendous situations, regain (or gain for the first time) faith in humans. When ultimately put up for adoption, these dogs are more likely to be part of a success story and less likely to be returned by the adopter. It's the classic win/win situation.
One non-spoiler alert—Surprise! Surprise! A stray Border Collie mix named Byram had picked out and walked up to the house of a lady that already had dogs. Guess he sensed she was dog-friendly. That decision led to his rescue. Those Border Collies and their analytical minds!
Sadly, one rescuer admitted that a small percentage of dogs are not suitable for this program (Lance, of Lance: A Spirit Unbroken, immediately came to mind). The message: Dogs should be rescued sooner, rather than later, before too much damage has been done to them.
As a drug and alcohol counselor in a correctional facility, this documentary really hit home. So many times an inmate will tell me, “Jail isn’t doing anything for me. It isn’t helping me.” While recovery has to be a self-generated internal process, everybody, in or out of jail, can always benefit from positive people, places and things in their surroundings. Why not make a tough job—self-improvement—a bit easier? I can’t help but believe that programs like Dogs on the Inside have demonstrated what can happen when, instead of saying “This is how we have always done things” or “That wouldn’t work”, we think outside the box. Dogs have so much to offer; why waste it?
Based on my latest check, Dogs on the Inside can be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dogs-Inside-Brean-Cunningham/dp/B00TF86T1M,
and Kanopy: https://www.kanopystreaming.com/product/dogs-inside
among other sites.
If you have seen Dogs on the Inside, how did you react to it? If you plan to view it soon, please come back to Lance’s Dog Patch and post your thoughts. By the way, do you have any dog-themed videos, films or documentaries you’d recommend to us?
Welcome to Lance's Dog Patch, a blog inspired by the star of the book Lance: A Spirit Unbroken. I’ve loved dogs since I was a kid and every single one I've owned has been great. However, Lance, a Border Collie, was the most unique. By rights, he should have been dead, a victim of animal cruelty, long before I ever met him. But, he had survived, and had quite a story to tell. I put it into words for him. I'll go into more detail on Lance throughout ensuing editions of “the Patch.”
Blog Mission: My mission for this blog is to provide a combination of dog-themed humor, dog health care and safety tips, and to facilitate dog rescues. Lance’s Dog Patch will be a source of entertainment and information for you to contribute to and provide to others when you see something here you find worth sharing. Of course, feel free to honor us with your own favorite dog stories, photos, and info. Please invite your friends and family to visit us. Note: no gruesome videos or photos will appear on this blog.
I do not present myself as a dog expert. I also don't consider myself a dog activist: that title goes to the people in the trenches doing the grunt work day in, day out. But, because of my experience with Lance, I feel comfortable labeling myself a dog advocate. While I was putting Lance's story to words, I realized I had to do something more than just complete the book. Writing about the life of a hard-luck but also die-hard dog isn’t enough unless it helps other dogs have better luck. To do something more, I formulated a three-point plan of action:
Thanks so much for visiting Lance's Dog Patch today. Lance and I look forward to providing you entertainment and information on a regular basis.
What is it about canines that make 7 out of every 10 humans in this country describe themselves as"dog people?" How about you? Can you explain why you love dogs?
Walter Stoffel is a substance abuse counselor and GED teacher in correctional facilities. When not behind bars, he likes to read, travel, work out and watch bad movies. Major accomplishment : He entered a 26.2-mile marathon following hip replacement surgery and finished—dead last. The author currently lives with his wife Clara, their dog Buddy (another rescue), and cat Winky (yet another rescue).
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Let's share humorous and touching stories, and also helpful info that will make dogs' lives better!