Unconditional love transcript
Our goal here is rehabilitation for young people. It's really important to us. And we achieve that in a lot of ways. And the Guide Dog Program contributes to that. Because it not only assists our young people who are handlers, individually in their rehabilitation process, but it's also about them contributing back to the community. So it's part of, I guess that restorative justice idea that they're making amends and they're giving back and they're doing good to the community that they've done harm to.
I've wanted to be part of the guide dog program in here for a long time. It's taken me a while. Initially, when I first came to the centre I put my name down. Two and a half years later – it was worth the wait. The first time I met Gigi. It was a bit unexpected. I was walking to school and Craig walked through the door with a dog. And I wasn't really expecting it, caught me by surprise. It was a good feeling. I was excited.
There's a lot of history with these guys, family history. Why are they here? There's been a lot of things impacting on their lives. I think just the opportunity to take care of an animal - do the training - just be part of that animal’s life. I think it makes a huge difference in here. We have Kerry in every week for training.
Working with the boys up here is awesome. I thoroughly enjoy it. It's actually the highlight of my week. The boys build on the skills and you know the time that the dogs need to stay in a seat, stay and drop. They need all those skills to be a working guide dog or therapy dog. We also add in extra things like handling and health checks which is really important that the dogs are well handled and happy to be handled.
I think the aim for everybody here including those young people is that their dogs going to get across the line. There's a lot of competition between these boys to get a dog that's going to become a guide dog. That's good for them. That sort of friendly competition makes them work harder and focus a whole lot more on the program.
It does take a lot of trust for us to place pups with any of our puppy raisers. Absolutely. The boys in here have definitely earned the trust and they never give me any reason to doubt that.
Many young people come into custody with a lot of walls up with a lot of guard. They have an idea about what being masculine is. They have an idea about what it is to be tough. And I think that our young people find it very hard to keep those guards up and how to be tough when there's a little fluffy puppy right in front of them, that they immediately go gooey and soft and fall in love with. It allows them to play and be silly and to love and be soft and to be vulnerable. I think that the dogs have taught the boys many lessons.
Gigi has taught me to be patient. Cause I'm pretty like. I'm a pretty impatient person, when something doesn't go my way. And like with Gigi, like she helped me learn like when I try to teach new tricks and that like it doesn't come just straight away. You have to be persistent and consistent. And I guess, the good feeling is that I'm being trusted to look after a dog. Yeah, that's a good feeling I'm being trusted. The best thing that having Gigi is probably is it makes my time go faster. Have a lot of sort of like a best friend, a companion. At the end of the day she listens and she's always there. You know what I mean. Teach me patience.
Teaching us the right thing cause it all comes back on us. If the dogs behave bad, it's all on us. Cause we're the ones that are teaching them. Good things do happen in places like this.
For some of our young people, this has been the first time maybe that they've had that real unconditional love that real secure attachment and that loyalty where that puppy just looks at them with that adoration and that absolute love that isn't reliant on anything really. And that just forms such an incredible unbreakable bond. And it teaches them how to love something, how to care for something that perhaps they've never had to do before.
I'm very proud of what the boys have done with the dogs. They work hard with those dogs. They focus on what they're doing. You've only got a show up at a training session to see how well those animals are actually running out there.
The first time I met Candy. It was like, the most happiest day in custody. Like it was like the most cutest thing I'd ever seen. I'm proud of like the dog that I've raised. She's well behaved. And hopefully she will make like a difference in someone's life in the future. It's time for Candy's assessment day soon. So going to be pretty hard to say goodbye. I think Candy probably loves me just as much as I love her.
Everyone hopes for their dog to be the best. I'll hope for her to be a guide dog. A working guide dog, for as long as she can. And if not like, I hope she becomes a good companion for someone else as good as she was for me. I don't like, I don't like say I'm going to get teary but I know I will if I have too. I'll shed a tear or two. But, at the end of the day, she's always been there for me. So it's hard letting go of something you love.
I'm incredibly proud that we do this program. I'm incredibly proud that we are committed to supporting people who need this service. And I'm incredibly proud that we provide a program that perhaps the community doesn't realise occurs in custody. That custody is actually about rehabilitation and also about giving back to the community.