Sgt. William Campbell returned from war with a traumatic concussive brain injury. It made everyday activities a struggle. Yet, when a Labrador Retriever named Pax entered his life, most things became easier. Pax is a service dog that can assist Campbell with physical chores while also providing emotional support.
As it turns out, Campbell isn’t the only person who Pax positively influenced. Pax also changed the lives of those close to Campbell and the people who trained Pax to become a service dog. So, when Pax reunited with a woman who helped raise him, he couldn’t contain his excitement. His reaction melted the hearts of so many people.
Pax Visits Prison
One day, Campbell brought Pax to the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women. When he saw inmate Laurie Kellogg, he sprinted toward her at full speed and showered her with kisses.
Campbell had brought Pax to the prison because he knew it was a special place for the pup. Pax had been part of the Puppies Behind Bars program, where inmates help prepare pups for lives as service dogs. Kellogg helped train Pax, so the two shared an emotional connection.
“I too had P.T.S.D. after years of domestic violence. I too had flashbacks,” Kellogg told Campbell. “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.”
Letting Pax go had been bittersweet for Kellogg and the other inmates. She was happy he would go on to change someone’s life, but of course, she missed him terribly. Thankfully, she hasn’t let that loss stop her from training more service dogs after Pax.
One Dog Changes So Many Lives
Kellogg kept a lot of memories of Pax, including his first dog bowl and many photos of him. She showed Campbell where Pax grew up, and the pup recognized the space right away. Then, Campbell and his wife talked to all the inmates in the program, which was very emotional. Not only is the program great for socializing the puppies, but it also changes the lives of these women.
“We’re just real women trying to cope with real situations in the best way we know how. We’re moms, and we’re daughters. We have children growing up too fast because we’re not there to take care of them. And all we can do is pour all that loving and nurturing into these puppies, and then let them take that out there to people like you,” Kellogg said to Campbell.
Campbell continued to keep in touch with Kellogg after meeting her. Kellogg was in prison for the murder of her abusive husband. She remained in prison for over 26 years after the murder, but she was released in 2019. Raising dogs like Pax was one of the most rewarding parts of her time in prison, so it’s such an incredible program for both the dogs and the people involved.