Ex-servicemen, often traumatized by the horrors of war, may find comfort in the company of a service dog after returning home. One such owner of a yellow Lab named Pax took the dog to a women’s prison, where one of the in-mates had trained him … and Pax had been her soulmate.
In 2008, Sergeant William Campbell, a veteran who fought in the war in Iraq, brought his service dog, Pax, to a women’s prison to meet his beloved ex-trainer, Laurie Kellogg, whom he had never forgotten. Kellogg was an inmate at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, and had been convicted of murder.
When Pax reunited with his cherished former master, he went mad with joy. As Kellogg put it, he “washed my face with kisses,” as The New York Times reported.
Just three weeks after Kellogg’s father passed away (while she had been in prison), she was assigned to train Pax as part of a nonprofit initiative called Puppies Behind Bars. Pax, along with eight other dogs, were to serve as service animals for veterans such as Campbell.
Due to his experiences in Iraq, Campbell suffered from severe concussions and post-combat stress. He became very scared to even leave his house, where he lived, in Washington State. Thanks to Pax, he became able to live a normal life again. As he told the women at the facility, “I’m here in New York. I’m walking the streets again.”
After Pax was assigned to be Campbell’s service dog, and was separated from his trainer, Kellogg was devastated, but she kept in touch with the ex-serviceman, who sent her photos of Pax’s journey. Then, finally, she had a chance to reunite with Pax when the vet brought him to the women’s facility to visit his beloved trainer.
There, Kellogg told Campbell how Pax had helped heal her wounds. “I too had PTSD after years of domestic violence. I too had flashbacks. Pax knew, and he let me know I wasn’t there—I was here.
“I knew he would make someone feel safe. He made me feel a sense of freedom in a place I was supposed to feel anything but,” she said.
She added that Gloria Gilbert Stoga, the program’s founder, “had given me the greatest gift that anybody’d ever given me in my entire life.”
“[Pax] gave me back pieces of myself that I forgot even existed. And when he left me, and when they told me that he was going to you, Bill, I sat on my floor and cried,” said Kellogg, adding that Pax had “restored a piece of my soul.”
“I never thought I’d see him again. If they opened the doors and let me out of prison, I wouldn’t feel this good,” she added.
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Photo Credit: Youtube Screenshot | OWN.