Jesse Bailey

The Beginning of My Dog Life


I have been locked up now for over 14 years. It has been a long, hard road for me.

In the beginning I didn’t quite know what to do or how to act.

I’ve gone through a lot of changes over the years. I had had developed a hard exterior type of shell. I’ve met a lot of people that have changed my life. Both for the good and bad.

A lot of people in prison are predators and use people to get what they want or need. I had been one of those people that had been ruined. That once open, nice, trusting guy was gone.

Something I had to learn was how to conduct myself in my new environment.

For the first several years I developed a hard exterior. Its just something that became normal for me.

One of the biggest things I didn’t know was happening to me was I had been changing in side. I didn’t like to be touched and didn’t really care about what happened to anyone else or had any responsibility for anything or anyone.

In 2009 when I was sent to StaffordCreek Correctional Facility (SCCC), I learned they were going to start a dog program. So I filled out an application and turned it in.

Having dogs growing up, I was excited to get in such a program. The thought of having a dog in prison was so cool! To have a live animal in my cell. I thought it would make me feel more free. Make me forget I was locked up.

I was accepted, and moved into a cell with a dog and another dog handler.

All of a sudden I didn’t know what to do with myself. I thought I would love it. I had dogs growing up, so this was going to be a breeze. Right?

Boy was I wrong. I didn’t know what to do. It was like I had never been around a dog before in my life.

It took me almost 2 weeks to get used to it. The biggest thing that I had to over come was touching the dog. It just felt weird. It felt off. It felt foreign. I can’t really explain it. I can say I felt sad that I couldn’t feel like I used to.

Looking back at it now, I think it was the showing and receiving of affection. Something I have had none of. That’s just something a person in prison doesent do.

It’s now 2016, here I am. Still training dogs and enjoying every minute of it.

If I had to guess, I’ve personally had a hand in training 50+ dogs. And been apart of over 250 dogs that have graduated from Freedom Tails. I really just stop counting years ago.

I was brought a new dog this week. He is a beautiful 2 year old Husky named Riley.

Jesse Bailey
DOC #879476

2 replies »

  1. Interesting explanation of your feelings when getting your first dog. Not what most people would expect to hear. I’m sure all the dogs, and families that adopted them, appreciate your commitment to the Freedom Tails program 🐕


    • That was a very hard moment in my life. Those feelings weren’t what I was expecting either. I do try and be as honest as possible with everything I say in my blog. I am sure the dogs do through as many emotions as we do. From all the changes in atmosphere to noises and smells. Thank you for for all of your suport. -Jesse


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