Currently, this prison is experiencing an institution wide Covid lockdown. There’s been confirmed cases in all of the living units, so all of us residents are strictly confined so as to stop the spread. For me, I’m confined to a wing of roughly 75 inmates and 5 service dogs in training. One of the subtle casualties of this need for sequestration is that the trainers can’t readily take the dogs out to play they way they usually do. So, as folks in prison do for almost everything, they improvised. They made a roughly 50 foot dog run down the length of our hallway. The outcome is amazingly normal…

The dogs will be let out together and toys thrown down the hallway. I can sit in my cell when it’s relatively quiet and hear the click-clack of dog claws as they scamper up and down the hallway. You can tell just by the sound when they are packing up on one toy because of the multiple grunts of each dog. It’s an element of refreshing normalcy. Normally play is reserved for the dog yard outside, but because of trainer restrictions, the play yard isn’t really an option right now. So the play inside is a new sound to this prison environment. And the play is fun and spirited! It’s dogs doing what dogs do. Usually, these animals are all business indoors, but desperate times call for flexibility. As they scamper up and down the hall chasing toys, inevitably they can’t stop on a dime with the concrete and will run into something. The other day I heard a POW!! against my door from them playing and it startled me. Usually banging on prison doors is the outcome of ill tempered humans. But I found myself smiling in the aftermath because that was the sound of a little bit of joy in a very dismal situation…

by Rory Andes

It’s amazing how certain sounds can hold so much joyous weight…

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Rory Andes 367649
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272