Beyond the Collar, Beyond the Cell

In Liz Goodwin’s article, “Prison Pups: Dog training program changed his life, says inmate,” a revelation occurred to me. In Goodwin’s coverage, she interviews Eddie Hill. He is a man with a resemblance to Robin Williams, but with a gaze that triggers sorrow rather than humor. After being convicted of double murder, Hill was sentenced to two lifetimes in jail in 1993. When he arrived to the Warren Correctional Institution he recalls himself being an unrecognizable person compared to who his is today. Once he joined 4Paws a transformation began. The program allows inmates to train dogs for three months before the pets are sent to professionals who place them with disabled children.

While Hill’s transformation started in 2002 when he joined the program, mine started when I read his story. My set beliefs, that were set as strong as a small town’s century’s old traditions, melted. With every passing sentence, the truth reverberated with a context of unfamiliarity on a personal level. While my love for news articles has bridged into my daily life since eighth grade, only one story before this one has revolutionized me as a person. The lesson I thought I knew – the cliché, “Never judge a book by it’s cover” might have transpired into my life in literal terms, in all my visits to local libraries, but it was the day that I read the article that it then crossed into my life beyond fairytales. Hill’s story reawakened the idea that people can truly change. That change in a person is not limited to plot lines and chapter books. He also showed me that not every butterfly shares the same patterns. With him, while he may be the only exception, he taught me that some inmates who shed their past, while remembering the lessons, do deserve a second chance.

Prompt: In a short fiction story of no more than 500 words, describe a famous villain who deserves a chance at getting a happily ever after.


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