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June 29, 2019

Restoring My Humanity

by Keith

I wanted to take the time and share with you just how wonderful I feel as a result of having you bring the dog program into this prison where I am so very fortunate to have been selected as one of your dog handlers. Yesterday I was assigned a puppy/Labrador named “Delta” and I will be very honest with you, I fell in love with this guy the very moment I held him in my arms before I even stood a chance or knew that I would be decided as one of his caregivers. Though I have spent the past years addressing and repairing so many of the things about myself that needed to be fixed, the fact that I can look at this little being and know that I am playing a key part in his success in this world outside of these walls is a very humbling and beautiful experience.

My past has been checkered with many hardships and choices that I am not very proud of, however, I also know that I am far form the man that I was ten years ago as I have been on this self-journey of what I always refer to as “restoring my humanity.” I think you would understand just how much I needed Delta as much as he needed the love that he will unconditionally get from me if you take a moment to read about my life and who I have become today on one of the many websites (At Risk Youth Program) that I do a lot of volunteer work and writing submissions/artwork:

(Keith Erickson) Writing Submissions

I know that you probably hear this a lot, but I want to thank you for what you have done for me and I look forward to my journey with Delta and the love/bond that we are going to build together so that I will help change someone’s life in the process

Having another little life that I’m responsible for definitely is taking my journey into a completely different direction and I mean that in a good way. Sometimes we start to live our lives the right way after having lived it the way in which I had for many years, (selfishly and poorly), so when you begin to fix yourself, as I always refer it, there’s things that you can’t learn on your own about yourself and that’s how having Delta makes me feel like. Through him I can now learn the fundamental principles on how to value life around me, just as I always should have been; not to mention the true sense of the word “bond,” (trust). I was reading the book “Weekends with Daisy” this week and going through the emotional roller coaster Sharron Luttrel is having after looking up Daisy’s handler’s crime, which to her affected her initial perception of him and I will be honest it made me wonder if many of the people, (particularly officers), look at me/us as broken men that cannot be fixed and giving us this opportunity to them is more of an experiment than anything else. I have spent years destroying my life, yet years fixing it and myself in the process and so many times I’ve had my past raise questions as to who I am today, (in my own heart I know who I am). I spend a lot of time watching Delta as he’s playing with the other dogs, and even those moments where he’s stretched out across my bed sound asleep; I don’t know if he understands the level of calmness and significance he makes me feel by his love and presence in my life, but because of him I wake up everyday having less rough days than I used to have, and having a role in his life gives me something greater than just wanting to fix me—I want him to be the bed that he can be as well. Yesterday he attended my college class with me and was very calm for the house and a half that we were there. I notice that he knows what he can and cannot get away with when it comes to me and John; however, John and I work together and share with one another things he does or what we know/agree is not good for him, (behaviors from other dogs, etc.). He did however growl at Vona today when she was doing his toe nails, (I was cleaning and reorganizing the supply room). I do know that it’s the first time his nails have been done here; maybe he wouldn’t been more relaxed with me holding him or doing it so early at this stage. He’s still “water crazy” and loves running into the sprinklers during yard, (off leash time). I’ve been walking with him next to me and he loves to follow me, ( I kind of act as if I’m sniffy, walking in circles too).

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