I lock in the dog unit. In the front hall, half the cubes have a dog on each side, with two handlers assigned to each one. At present, there’s 8 dogs, but at full capacity, there’s twice that. The dogs themselves are a mix of puppies, strays, and various cast offs, much like their cubies.
The dogs don’t stay long–a couple months tops before they’re adopted. In the meantime, the handlers teach basic commands, and properly socialize them. It’s hard to watch them leave, and I’m not even the one caring for them.
As you can imagine, it’s cool jailing with a dog, even when they all start barking at each other at five in the morning. They’re less obnoxious, noisy, and smelly than a lot of cubies I’ve had in the past. Waking up to a cute pup sprawled out in the floor ameliorates some of the misery of prison. It may be cramped as hell in the cube (I feel like Houdini every time I change), but there’s a warm-blooded mongrel happy to see me. I don’t even mind getting licked in the face, considering that a fist bump was the extent of the affection I’ve felt in years.
Watching the dogs interact is an amusing diversion. Mr. Peabody is the stray beagle that now resides at the foot of my bunk. He never barks, but is straight gangster. Poppy is the black labradoodle on the other side of the cube who’s a functioning retard. Tucker is the huge dog across the hall whose front leg is missing. Maybe he’s trying to overcompensate, but he’s always barking at the other dogs when they pass by, like he’s trying to be rock boss. The other dogs sometimes bark back or cower, but not Peabody. He just stares back, steely-eyed.
Outside, the dogs all play together, nipping at and wrestling each other. Peabody’s interest is solely in Tucker, and it’s romantic in nature. From the jump, he relentlessly humps Tucker, sometimes even jumping up and pumping. Tucker, invariably, loses his balance and falls to the ground from the tiny beagle’s thrusts. This deters Peabody little.
I’ve little less than 4 years left; I’m halfway done, but sometimes all that time weighs on me, and I can’t get outside my own mind, but watching a small pup face fuck a huge three legged dog into the dirt buoys my spirit in way that shrinks the remaining years into something very doable, as if they were a 3 legged dog on the ground and I’m a virile beagle with a point to prove.