Gilberts’ Story

    “My name is Gilbert. I have been incarcerated since the age of 15, I am now 36. For many of those twenty plus years I was rather rude, disagreeable and uncaring. Words such as hope, compassion, selfless and freedom were like some strange disease, they affected somebody else, never me.

    Then around the fifteen year mark amazing events and people started appearing in my life. All of them whispering the wisdom I had been shouting for. I had finally quieted enough to listen. Then about a year ago I was asked to join W.A.G./C.B.C.C. Dog Program. Never in my two decades of existence in these iron-houses has a program been able to breathe life back into the deflated lungs of tired souls … until now.

     I have been asked to write a testimonial on what this program and the people from WAG have done for me, as well as others here.  I struggle to find the words to explain how it feels to find life in the midst of anguish. To be judged as something other than unworthy. To not only be allowed, but encouraged, to nurture ones’ passion and be blessed with a purpose to pour it into. How do I explain the overwhelming feeling of freedom to those who have never lost theirs? Hopefully one can relate, because as we are finding in this program the term “imprisonment: applies to much more than walls. As we grow into living altruistically we see how our habits, addictions and previous patterns of thought have held us stagnant.

    The lessons learned as we work with these dogs daily will resonate with us for years to come. I have seen men who at one point laughed at death, now cry as their last dog walked away. And I know the selflessness that was behind those tears because my eyes were also. We have grown.

    Today I am blessed. Today I am grateful. Today I am free. I have passion and a purpose thus my freedom, regardless of time yet to serve. What has W.A.G. and this program done for me? By training me to become a better trainer I have been able to tame my internal beasts. They have brought truth back to my smile, humanity back to my heart and blessedly affected me with all those strange diseases of hope, compassion, selflessness and love.”


MESSAGE from an offender, former
WAG dog trainer at Clallam Bay Corrections
Center (CBCC), who was
transferred to a different prison

     “I wish to thank you for the opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself. It had been a pleasure and an honor working both for you and with the dogs. This program has not only taught me how to work with dogs but also to be a better person. I have learned compassion, patience, trust and the ability to think of others besides just myself. I hope that wherever I go, they also will have a dog program that I can get into, so that I can teach what has been taught to me. And this is all because of you.

     This program has meant so much to me. It really breaks my heart to have to leave it. It was the only good thing I have ever done in my life that was not selfish in the end. I now have some wonderful memories to cherish for the rest of my life. I stand before you all (guys included) applauding the great things you do and go through for these dogs. If it wasn’t for you (and the compassion you have for them) they might not have made it. I will miss the camaraderie of the meetings, the companionship of the dogs, and seeing their transformation from beginning to end. May all you endeavors in the program go far into the future. I REALLY wish I could have stayed. I wanted to.”

“A fellow dog lover. “