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March 17, 2020

Take the Opportunities

by Derek

The other day I was shadowing Ernesto and Nelson because I had to fill out the progress evaluation form. What what I observed, Nelson’s a pretty great dog. Yeah, he struggles in some areas but overall, he’s awesome. Ernesto did a great job in handling Nelson during my shadowing. He’s really patient when it comes to Nelson pulling when it’s playtime. He does everything we’re supposed to do.

I don’t mean to make this journal all about Ernesto or Nelson but some time ago you wanted us to acknowledge our fellow teammates’ strengths and seek out advice when it’s needed so seeing Ernesto in action with Nelson has taught me some things where I can approve or adopt them as of my own. I’m not saying I’m struggling in any area as of right now, but it’s always great to get a different perspective on how to improve myself. At times I can be my worst critic but I’ve come to accept the fact that we’re not perfect. We’re flawed in some way or another but with a helping hand or word or two, it can actually make things a lot easier for you. I took the initiative to get into this program as a challenge for myself because I knew I lacked in so many areas that I needed to work on. I’ll admit, these past couple of months have been trying and a bit overwhelming because of everything going on with me personally and non-personally. But having this opportunity to be a part of something real, working with others, and being around a living creature has been a humbling experience for me. I know I’ve taken a lot of things for granted throughout my whole life but I can honestly say that where I’m at today as a person; every obstacle, hardship, and opportunity has been a blessing because I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. And seeing my fellow dog handlers do their thing with the program and growing from it has been a learning experience for me because no matter where we’re at in life, or age, we’re able to succeed if we truly desire it or take the opportunities that are before us in life.

Inmate handler Derek is working in the program at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Fresno County.

Click the link below to view Nelson's personal page.

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