Watch as Ronnie, an inmate handler at CTF, talks about his experience in the New Life K9s program and what it means to him. Ronnie was a great leader in the program and has since passed away. His commitment to the program is remembered by all of our inmate handlers and inspires them to continue our mission and save lives.
MARCH 19, 2019
Keeping Ties Alive
by Dennis Rock
I sit here on my bunk in the morning, drinking my coffee, and think how lucky I am. I have a 4 month old puppy curled up next to me, with his head on my arm, seeking warmth and comfort, and a 90 pound Golden Retriever laying up against my legs. Many people would probably take these moments for granted, but when you are in prison, serving a life sentence, they are precious and to be cherished. I have New Life K9’s to thank for this. With their vision of saving the lives of our veterans and first responders, they are also helping to preserve our lives and our dreams of getting our one day and leading a productive life. They give us so many tools to do this. Instead of just thinking about ourselves, we are given another life to nurture. We learn how to work with others, and many of us come from different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and some even come from rival gangs. We learn communication skills, how to talk to each other about differences without heated arguments. We learn the parenting skills that come with raising these dogs using the bond-based teaching philosophy. This program gives us the means to give back to our communities that we have taken so much from. It gives us the tools to enrich our relationships with our families, to keep these important ties alive. So I’ll end this by saying, thank you New Life K9’s.
MARCH 19, 2019
What I Needed
It’s coming up on a year since I carried all my baggage into this program, and I’ve got to say that it’s significantly lighter now because of the unconditional love and joy that Nolan, Country, Sonny, Toby, Jett, Roofus, Moose, Bravo, and Dani have brought into my life. Through the meaning I receive in the New Life mission, and support given by Nicole, Courtney, Rosa, SGT. Gregory, Cpt. Selby and Jack, I’m starting to feel good about myself in a way that I’ve never known. Those feelings of low self worth dissipate and become less and less intense as the days go on. As I sat there in my annual and they continued to praise the progress that I made these last couple of years, I gave credit to the program for giving me the best possible chance and experience in trying to regain my humanity and making amends. For helping in my personal transformation in a way that I couldn’t. I’ve learned how to open up communication and be there for all my teammates. And because of it I can look myself in the mirror and believe myself when I say “you’re a good person”. Even though I can never erase all of the pain and suffering that I caused...I can look at what I am a part of today here at New Life and can hold up my head just a little bit higher and that can get me through the day...I have a desire to live. New Life gave me not what I wanted, but what I needed. And the reason I am so grateful for this life-saving opportunity is because I can finally give back peace and love and trust to a very deserving hero. Today I can say that because of New Life K9’s, I am a better person.
MARCH 15, 2019
Jett has done more for me than I can possibly realize. He’s opened me up in ways I never imagined and he has prepared me for things to come in the future: a family. This entire program and all that it offers I’ll take with me forever; the likes and even the dislikes...It’s all prepared me for something that was only a fantasy in my mind and heart. Freedom. I’m so thankful to have been part of Jett’s life and to have taken that positive risk by applying for the NLK9’s program. Thank you Nicole. Thank you Courtney. Thank you Rosa. Thank you Jack and the entire New Life staff and team inside and outside these walls. You have all given me my life back!