No more prison for you. Today you come home to me. Your new home. I hope you like it. Katie, the Pen Pal Trainer, volunteered to bring you to her kennel, so John and I don’t have to drive all the way to the prison to retrieve you.

John put the crate together and  lined it with a clean, fresh towel. I washed the cover from Trudy’s old bed before placing it next to the couch in the den. I bought you a new toy. A black and yellow, striped tiger. He’s flat and stretches and squeaks. Perfect for tug of war. We kept a few of Trudy’s toys for you too. A flat, grey elephant with a squeaker in each leg, and a brown, stuffed hedgehog. Her favorites.I retrieved the pet mat shaped like a bone, and washed and filled the water bowl. John and I set off for Katie’s house, confident that we were ready for your arrival.

Lucky Dog Kennels is the name of Katie’s boarding business. I hope you feel lucky Dwight. I do. I’m getting a new dog friend today.  Katie has several dogs. She takes one of them,  Django, a Dachshund/Jack Russel mix, with her to work at the prison. She told me that Django is your best friend, saying that the two of you had great runs during free time at the prison gym. It’s comical to think of the two of you running around. I visualize an Antelope and a Pigmy Hippo. Not a likely combo. I hope you wont miss Django and your inmate too much.

On the drive to the kennel, I notice the open fields and patches of woods in this rural area. You’ve probably always lived in the country. I’m sure the smells are richer here, deeper than what you will find in the suburbs. Freshly mowed hay, newly turned dirt in plowed fields, cows, cowpiles. It must be hound snout paradise. How will life in the suburbs be for you? Remember, I promised you. No prison, no hunts. You get to be a spoiled, family dog. We have woods and wetlands behind our house. Herons, raccoons, foxes, and even deer are spotted there frequently. Maybe a new palate of scents for you.

We pull into Katie’s. Rob, her friend,  brings you out to us, a short lead attached to your harness. You show no emotion. Not excited to see us. Not particularly nervous about leaving the kennel. I twirl your ears, and pat your head as Rob discusses the paperwork from the prison. The inmate has written a letter of introduction for you. We open the back of the car. You stand, stoic, staring into the SUV.  No amount of coaxing will get you in. You aren’t trying to run away either. You just are. Rob puts his arms around your belly and lifts you into the car. We shut the hatch. You stand, facing forward. John and I get in the front. You continue to stand in the back, “surfing” as we wind our way home. I wish you’d sit down. We all seem a little uncomfortable.

We pull into the driveway. You jump from the car. I am grateful we don’t have to lift you out. You run circles in the driveway and pee in the front yard before coming in the house. You pace from room to room, door to door. No noise, just pacing. You find the water. Take a drink.

We take you outside to the fenced backyard. Now you look excited. Your long legs leap from corner to corner of the yard. Head jerks, ears flap. We assume this is freedom for you. No more jail cell. No more tall chain link fences. We all have adjustments to make. Welcome to your new home Dwight. We’re glad you’re here.

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