Nashville Daily

Retrieving Independence | Interview with Jessica Petty | Episode 115

Episode Summary

In less than twenty-four hours after firing their head coach and assistant coach, the Nashville Predators found their new head coach! A development along Charlotte Pike has been announced that can hopefully help begin an average rent price decrease in Nashville. And, we sit down with the executive director of a non-profit that brings independence to those who need it most. We’ll bring you all of this, plus today's events, on Nashville Daily.

Episode Notes

Screened Threads

https://screenedthreads.com/

Today's Guest - Jessica Petty | https://retrievingindependence.org/

https://www.instagram.com/retrievingindependence/

Events 

Nashville Business

  1. Developer buys Charlotte Pike site for apartments near Nashville West

Follow us @ XPLR NASH

Media and other inquiries please email hello@xplr.life

Episode Transcription

00:00          Hello everybody. This is the Nashville daily podcast. I'm Stuart Deming and I'm Erin Pennington. In less than 24 hours after firing their head coach and assistant coach, the Nashville predators found their new head coach. A development along Charlotte pike has been announced that can hopefully help begin an average rent price decrease in Nashville. And we sit down with the executive director of a nonprofit that brings independence to those who need it most. We'll bring you all of this plus today's events on Nashville Daily. The traffic,

 

00:40          It's just awful. Just avoid the roads, stay home and don't do anything in Nashville besides surf the internet and buy on Amazon.

 

00:48          Well as soon everybody will be driving until all the Amazon things here in [inaudible].

 

00:53          Yeah. Like the Amazon bookstore, the Amazon grocery store, grocery store, the Amazon place in the Nashville yards if you're working there.

 

01:02          Yeah. And it's a Thursday, so everybody's making sure that they show up to work so they don't have to tomorrow. So Thursday's the day that everybody's definitely going to be on the roads. It's a no avoiding it. Trash traffic is bad and it's just, it's the only way to put it. It's just bad.

 

01:18          And what's making it even worse is some of these amazing events happening here in the city of Nashville, like whiskey jam that's happening at winners bar in Midtown. This is happening at 8:00 PM and if you guys want tickets for that, it's free. But I would highly recommend going over to whiskey jam.com to learn more.

 

01:36          And also for you lunch eaters. We have street eats downtown that's on Diedrich street happening from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM you lunch eaters, the lunch eaters, I don't know who you are. We're putting that on a tee shirt. You watch either you lunch eater, you let liquor. And as well, you know, one of the, we don't talk about events that are happening at the music city center very often because usually they're from people out of town coming into town in there. It's kind of an isolated thing. But this one was huge last year and we kind of walked by it. It's the Nashville boat show happening at the music city center, the 2020 Nashville boat show. It's going to be pretty much all over the convention center.

 

02:16          I think of how I met your mother and there's an episode where the character Robin is working with this new newscaster and she did a commercial that makes some money on the side and she's like boats, boats, boats. And every time somebody says the word boats, I either think of that or I think of lonely Island.

 

02:35          I'm on a boat, I'm on a boat with my flipping the boat community. After those two things came out, they just, anytime somebody mentions boats about there that they're all over.

 

02:46          Yeah. So we got this fishing boat and then we got this other boat and then I, I, we can keep going with the jokes about these boats guys.

 

02:53          All right. So zoo lumination is also happening at the Nashville zoo. It's the largest Chinese festival lights. It's going on through February 2nd so you still have a few days to go and enjoy this great event. And then you will, if you have tickets you can go. And join this other event. But if not, you're going to be entering the lottery system to try and get some tickets. And that is the play Hamilton at T pack. This is running through January 19th. And like I said, download the Hamilton app if you haven't gotten tickets yet and you can enter their lottery systems and you may be selected to not win but purchase two $10 tickets. So at least they've, they've taken down the cost of the tickets and that is a@tpack.org for that play.

 

03:37          There is a new coach anchoring down the Nashville predators. There's another boat joke. Got it. There we go. All right, so anchoring down in Nashville predators, right. I'm just going to keep going with boat jokes throughout the entire podcast. That's exactly what's going to happen. So is this new coach. Alright, so a a 44 year old Hines swimming

 

03:58          Today as the first the new head coach for the national predators. He was actually let go of the, the, the New Jersey devils on December 4th. So it looks like a pretty quick transition for him to get back to an NHL team. He had spent four seasons in New Jersey. His record is 150 wins 159 losses and 45 ties. Cause that's the thing with hockey hockey, that's his record with teams that were generally out-manned in terms of talent. Prior to that he had a 22 and 31 wins, 126 losses in 27 ties in the five seasons with the Wilkes. Stuart, you're going to have to help me with,

 

04:41          Well, it's what our parents, the Wilksbear Scranton penguins from the office, they say Wilksberry it's what's fair. So that's my, that's my hood. I grew up partially in upstate New York and then also in Scranton. I went to college in Scranton. I probably actually saw a game when he was head coach at the penguins probably at least three or four times. That's really cool. And so Scranton, Pennsylvania, there's an area near Scranton and they have old forge at some of the best pizza in the United States. So he may be missing that pizza as well. So if I ever meet the nuture, he knows Joey's is here. Yeah, we'll definitely make sure that he knows Joey's is here.

 

05:20          Also I think one of the things that was cool, again, this is coming from news channel five and you can click on the article in the show notes. Heinz has also done considerable work with USA hockey is known for his development with junior players. The predators general manager both have an assistant general manager, both have strong ties to U S hockey, hockey operations. So I, I guarantee you this was a, a factor that was a huge win for them. Bringing hides onto the the predator staff because we have so many new rinks that are coming into Nashville. And so building hockey mentality in this city among junior players is going to be something that is extraordinary to do. National predators, obviously they have their camp, they do a lot of things with the Fort. I center with a lot of the the local talent here in Nashville. Heinz unfortunately got thrown into a game the day afterwards, the day after, I believe that he was hired. And unfortunately the predators lost six to two. Which it's so unfortunate to, to lose the first game you're thrown into. But you know, yeah. You can't fault that to a new coach on the [inaudible].

 

06:36          It's either, it's either win or lose. That's your option, right? Yeah.

 

06:40          Got to lose. So but good w we wish good luck to, to Heinz and yeah, looking forward to what this season holds for us.

 

06:50          So some other news that's found on, I believe it's Nashville business journal. This is a place you're not going to be able to park your boat cause there's not gonna be enough room because there's going to be a ton of cars there. Because guess what? It's a new apartment complex that may be coming to West Nashville near the West Nashville shopping district in between the property of the VA and tailgate.

 

07:17          All right. So again, we are well, let's see how many apartments are going to be built with this. So the developer plans to build more than 260 apartments according to the plans that are filed with Metro. And if built. Now this, this is really interesting. If built the project would add to the 1000 plus apartments that have and get this, not just not just are already there, have recently opened or are under construction in the immediate area which offers access to interstate 40 is not far from Bellevue. I'm very familiar with this area and if you've driven down Charlotte pike, it's kind of over there near Walmart, Jim and Nick's and everything like that. You know, that, that, that place has just added so many apartments. And so this is kind of why we said we're hoping something like this will help the average apartment price drop with an increased demand or with an increased supply of apartments. We're hoping that those kinds of things continue to solve the problem of what's going on in Nashville with rent. You've got you know, probably your, your nice average apartment complex is going in that places into places that are not, you know, right downtown. But you know, far enough to people can have their space outside of, of downtown. So hopefully that allows some of the apartment prices to let me continue with my puns sink.

 

08:38          Ooh. Ooh, that's a good one. They're not going to stop. They can't anchor down for nothing. So I think that's just an incredible area. I, there's a part of me that wants to like live in that area because of Bellevue place. How close it is to the narrows of Harpeth Montgomery bell state park. It's a fantastic area. Rideable area of town, but I just, I don't want to drive to downtown that right.

 

09:08          Well, and especially interstate 40 and Charlotte pike, you're not going to win. There's not a necessarily a very, very easy access backway into downtown from that area. Both those areas are heavily congested.

 

09:23          Yeah. And it's just going to get worse. They didn't really plan strategically on doing double roads, especially in Charlotte

 

09:31          Pike. Me in a little two lane highway is crazy back there. Definitely should be expanded. All right, so swimming over to our next topic. Stuart and I's a favorite place to go. Fish for some food and coffee is the well coffee shop in downtown Nashville. That's one way. One place we have eaten locally and yes, I actually did eat there this time. Not just a coffee. I had a cookie as well.

 

09:55          I was actually really surprised because Aaron's like coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee. But literally right beforehand he's like, I cannot have any coffee right now. I tried. I tried.

 

10:05          But they have some amazing coffee. If I was to get it anywhere it would be at the, well they have an amazing blue note brew that's still on tap there. That is incredible. But I got some kind of cookie that they had in the window and it was, it was really good. Oatmeal, something cookie. That's what it looked like. It looked, yeah. Okay. I'm not 100% sure. Sometimes you're like, ah, that just looks good. And it kind of had an oatmeal taste to it and a few berries in it, but it was good.

 

10:31          I had a ice coffee so I didn't eat there, but I drank there. There you go. Yeah. Yeah. I drownded myself in their car. Okay. These swimming puns are getting a little bit wet. Well,

 

10:43          It's, it's about two to increase a little bit more because our Explorer's Nashville tip of the day is to go somewhere with a giant Lake. We want you to head to Radnor Lake. It's supposed to be 62 degrees today. One sane that's spring Lake temperatures in the middle of the winter. Yeah. Welcome to Nashville. If you've never experienced a winter in Nashville, here it is a glow, a great 62 degrees. Hopefully the sun is going to be shining all day long. If not, that's okay. It's still warm. But take advantage of this and suspend it outside if, if you're a moderately outdoor person you know, take advantage of being somewhere where maybe not a lot of people were going to be and go to Radnor Lake hike, all the beautiful trails that are there. It's been a dry week so far in Nashville, so they're not going to be super muddy trails.

 

11:32          So you're going to have a, a decent time there. And afterwards go grab a lunch down 12th South somewhere. Local restaurants, plenty of them there. You can go shopping there. A flip side, flip side. I went to a few years ago, it's, it's, it's had some national attention I believe. Yeah. So it's was high SES, just cruel strudel that German like Oh, meets the, a strudel I believe is a pastry. I don't know what it is, but it's, it's like it's, it's a German street meat. Okay. Basically it's like chicken where they hammer it down. I think it's called screw strudel. I can't remember. I'm probably butchering this name. So Erin is currently looking that up, but Hey, the flip side, they have an amazing selection of whatever they are serving and then afterwards go grab some coffee at white bison. And that's a local convenience store, coffee shop.

 

12:27          It's a super interesting concept that's relatively new here in the city of Nashville. Yeah. White bison is something, especially the downtown or, sorry, not downtown. The 12 South location is almost getting to be a very popular location for a coffee shop. Because I think the only two coffee shops you have right on in that 12 style shopping areas, you have Portland brew and then well you do have, you have frothy monkey, frothy monkey, but frothy monkey is almost too popular. Yeah, it's crazy. It really is. I think they're hoping to alleviate some of that with some some renovations. But and the white bison I think kinda came in at the right time and offered a lot of space combined with that convenient store to make people really feel like they have a, a nice new place in tall South. Which is just what people need.

 

13:16          A nice new place in 12 South. Yeah, absolutely. You also have another well coffee shop that's down there right off of granny white pike, right across from Lipscomb university. So, and steward, I can't find that food that you are talking about, but okay. This is some of the magnets. Strudel is not, I don't believe it's the street meat. I believe somebody educate us on this. We know that say X PLR underscore Nash. But let me just give you guys some of the things that are on their menu. So Jack's best chicken. What's Jack's best chicken and chicken breasts pounded thin covering the Italian seasoning breadcrumbs pan sauteed with extra Virgin olive oil. So some of their options they have the Mac daddy. So that's going take that chicken with a chili and Mac and cheese. That sounds fantastic. Then you also have Elvis lives, which this sounds even better.

 

14:06          And so that's, you only have that chicken with peanut butter, banana honey and bacon. That sounds so good on some chicken. Oh, absolutely. So that is explorers Nashville tip of the day. This episode of Nashville daily is brought to you by screened threads, screen threads, Zay, Nashville, curate shop located in historic marathon village. Use code Nashville daily. Get 10% off your next online order. Their website is screened, threads.com mentioned this ad and storing a 10% off as well. If you guys are needing custom Nashville apparel or just apparel that you want to sell to your mom, you could totally get that done as screened threads.com. All right. And our research is in thank you to our awesome researchers. Finding out strudel is a pastry has still haven't found that street meat yet. German street Moodle is a pastry. We'll keep you guys updated because we want to know about our food.

 

15:01          All right, so we're gonna move into our segment. We were when we were at the well coffee shop we had the chance to interview somebody who is really doing some really cool stuff. We interviewed Jessica Petty, she's the executive director of retrieving independence and we sat down and we talked with her about what they are doing. Obviously, I'm just going to tease a little bit. It has to do with dogs, has to do with the Tennessee department of corrections, has to do with puppy trainers and it has to do with filling a need for people who might need some, some dogs to be in their life to help them just get along and get around on a day to day basis. So without further ado, here is our interview with Jessica Petty. All right guys. Thank you for joining us for our interview today. We are sitting with Jessica Petty. She is the executive director of retrieving independence. We'll talk about that here in a second. But Jessica, thank you for coming out to the well with us and, and sitting down and having a conversation.

 

15:59          Yeah, thanks so much for having me.

 

16:01          Absolutely. So we're just going to start at blank slate. And pretend I don't know anything about retrieving independence and and I want to learn a lot about this. I know it has to do with dogs. But what is retrieving independence and how did you get involved with the organization?

 

16:20          I could talk about retrieving independence for days, so if I go too long, cut me off. So the short story is we're a service dog organization, so we breed, train and play service dogs with individuals living with disabilities. That can be a physical disability or that can be a mental disability. And so that's a clarification that we often try to make. We do not train guide dogs and there are amazing organizations that do that. We do not do that. But we do focus on mobility and then mental health disabilities. So we train with then the Tennessee. We have a partnership with the Tennessee department of corrections. And so we trained within two Tennessee prisons. One is for men and one is for women. And that's a big part of our mission. And one thing that's also different about us is that we have employee counselors.

 

17:09          We don't know any other service dog organizations in the U S that do this, that work with people with the disabilities and also the inmates. So early on in the program, when we entered the prisons, a big part of our training philosophy is all around positivity. So you can't use manipulation or force with the dogs. So as we were working with the inmates, some of those things we were teaching were very different than their experiences growing up. And so we found that we are really having to sort of dig in and rewire some things for them. And so that's where we realized we need to have some counselors here. So some big stuff was coming up, you know, that the dog trainers were like, Hey, not my area of expertise. So early on we, we added that element of the counseling. So we really see ourselves as offering rehabilitation to inmates.

 

17:59          That's incredible as well as, you know, helping the recipients of the dogs. Yeah. That's amazing. So how did you get involved with retrieving independence? So it's an interesting sort of story. My background is in corporate life. I was not a part of, you know, nonprofit work. I'd volunteered in the Nashville area, but you know, I was just, you know, corporate path and I hit 40 and I was sick of being on an airplane. I was gone up to 150 nights a year and just really knew I wanted to do something different with my life, but I didn't know what it was. So I took a year sabbatical. Hmm. Awesome. Highly recommend it. You can do it. You said you're sick of being on a plane. Did you do any traveling during this? I did. I walked a pilgrimage across Spain by myself and did some things.

 

18:44          Yeah. So what was your favorite part of Spain? You know, we were in really rural parts, so it wasn't, it wouldn't be anything that you would definitely just go to visit, but just walking through the villages and things like that, it was just, it was amazing. And to be able to walk into, you know, a church or see a home that Spanish to or very poorly. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. So, yeah. But during that time I started increasing my volunteering within the Nashville area and there is an organization called project return that helps inmates that have been released with their reentry. And so they needed people to help with what they call mock interviews. So I started doing that cause I had all this experience of interviewing people and I'm like, I could help them with this. So I started finding myself spending every week around people that had just gotten out of prison.

 

19:36          So I got very comfortable with that cause I don't know about you guys, but that was a little intimidating for me first. You know, our backgrounds are really different. And so I started to really develop this sort of interest and passion for that sort of work. And then just the way things kind of work, this, this organization retrieving independence decided they'd been volunteered, led the entire time they decided they were ready to add an executive director and somebody I knew knew somebody and called me and said, Hey, I know you're on your sabbatical but would you be interested in doing this? And I learned about the organization and then the fact that they were working in Tennessee prisons and I was doing this work with project return. It just was this weird sort of moment, like a light bulb. Like okay this is what I'm supposed to be doing.

 

20:18          Cause I was just sort of waiting and searching to figure out what it wasn't going to be. And this was a, so it's been amazing at a good time. Absolutely. How old is retrieving independence? So they were founded in 2012 okay. And then do all the dogs primarily just stay in Tennessee or do they go throughout the nation? So we will place anywhere and throughout the U S but we do find that the majority of our recipients are from Tennessee or Kentucky, Georgia, you know, relatively close. There are a lot of amazing service dog organizations throughout the United States. So certainly if somebody comes to us from a referral, like we just had somebody from Pennsylvania and one of our recipients now lives in Portland, Oregon. So we are spread out, but I would say primarily in this area.

 

21:01          Do you have any personal connection with service dogs that made you really interested in, in this organization?

 

21:08          So back in my corporate days one of my jobs was director of marketing for a brand and that brand we actually connected with a service dog organization out of Atlanta. And so that was the first time that I'd ever really gotten a close up look at what happens when somebody is living without a service dog and then suddenly, you know, how their life changes when they have one. I mean, I would say those first few months that I was connected with that organization, I would cry on a weekly basis because you would meet these people and hear how their lives had changed. People that were living with ALS and we're at the end of their lives and they're in, they're progressively losing independence and they're not used to being cared for by their spouse or their friends and the dog could allow them to retain some of that dignity and independence towards the end of their life that was so important to them. So things like that just really moved me even before I knew about retrieving independence.

 

22:05          Wow. What were some of the things as soon as you kinda got in there as the executive director, what were some of the things that maybe were pretty eyeopening about that, that world or that need or how much of a need was there based off of what you may not have seen before?

 

22:21          I think my past experience with service dogs was thinking more about you know, the seeing eye dogs that I had seen out and about or working for mobility and things like that. I hadn't really thought about the aspect of mental health and what that could do. And I think because retrieving independence has these counselors on staff, we're really equipped to help people. That doesn't help everybody. So, you know, I don't want to say that it's not for everyone cause dogs are still work. It's still adds, you know, another element into your life. So it's not it's not sort of a quick fix for everybody. But for some people living with post traumatic stress or severe anxiety, the dogs can offer a deep pressure. If you, you know, if a veteran comes back with post traumatic stress and they had issues with space, the dog can create space for them.

 

23:12          When they're in crowds, they can look behind them and subtly alert them if somebody is coming up behind them. Different things like that that provide sort of peace for people. Okay. So when the dogs are trained and then you hand them off to, are they called like handlers or people that you're giving the dogs to, do you guys also train that person to be able to respond to what the dog is doing? Absolutely. So all of our, we call them mercy pants and the service dogs, every service dog calls them something. Our organization, you might hear them called clients. So for us it's important that the recipients understand, you know, how to handle the dog because the dog is going from this life where they've been. My trainers that obviously you know, are very well adapted, you know, giving them their, their cues and things like that.

 

24:02          And so we spend 10 days with each recipient working with them. But even beyond that, we're available to them. So we have our recipient director we have, you know, all sorts of things available to them and it, and they will need more after the 10 days, the 10 days prepares them, but it's a lot, you know, it's a lot for them to take in. And a lot of times we'll find they get home. And I don't know if this is ever happening here, but I think like, Oh, I've got this and then I'll, you know, try to do something on my own. I'm like, I don't have it. I lost it. So a lot of times they'll get home and they're like, Whoa, wait, what do I do? And I totally forgot. And the dog has to get used to living in a new home, you know, that's, so there's a transition period.

 

24:42          So we absolutely are there for them. We actually start this Friday with a new camp. Oh, Whoa. Yeah. So when the dogs are being trained, are they trained for specific needs of individuals? Like, so say a dog is going to a, somebody in two years and that person has post traumatic stress. Is that dog specifically trained for that person? Yeah, so that's a great question. So the way our process works and everybody's, every organization's a little bit different. But for us, what we do is as soon as the puppies get into the prison program and they start training, we start training for mobility right away. Cause we don't know what they're going to do. But we figure that's, you know, those are good things for them to know because even if it's gonna end up being somebody with post traumatic stress or things like that, if they're having a panic attack, they may still need the dog to go get their phone or different things.

 

25:31          So we train for mobility right from the beginning. We do what we call matching with the dogs. So once a recipient is accepted into the program which is a fairly lengthy process, we want to see where they live. We want to understand what their environment's like. We speak to their healthcare team to make sure that we fully understand what their needs are, that their medical team and their, you know, everybody's on board. So once that happens, we go through a process that we call match. And so the dogs actually picked the people, the people don't pick the dogs. Okay. So we will bring them into the prison and we'll introduce several dogs to them. And at that point, you know, we've sort of learned the, the temperament of the potential recipient. And then of course we know the temperaments of the dogs, right?

 

26:16          And so we, we sort of know that maybe these, this handful of dogs might be good for them. So once we establish which dog is there is, then that's when the specialized training starts. So if it is for post traumatic stress, then we start to do those things. And even with mobility, there are certain particular things that everybody needs. Everybody has a different scenario. Somebody might be in an electric wheelchair, so we might be in a manual wheelchair. So it might be somebody that's in high school. And so they're going to school every day. It might be somebody in an office building. We recently placed a diabetic alert dog and that recipient as like on the side teaches handgun certification or you gotta train the dog to be around. So we start, we found some of our volunteers that would take the dog so that they, the dog would get used to hearing those sounds.

 

27:08          Wow. So you know, obviously you guys have golden retrievers. What other breeds do you guys bring in and obviously these are probably pretty highly coveted breeds of dogs. So what does that selection process like and how do you guys, you know, end up with these, these dogs to be designated for a service like this? Yeah,

 

27:31          So we have an amazing veterinarian, Dr. Robinson, she's at FilmAid animal hospital and she of course, you know, has her eyes and hands on all of our dogs constantly. So we're constantly thinking about health temperament and all those things. So we do, we do breed the majority of our own dogs because we like to know who the mother is and we like to know who the father is and what their genetics look like. Cause the last thing you want to do is spend two years training a job, place them with somebody, they fall in love with the dog and then then the dog suffers a health issue. You know, at age four or five or something. And while none of that is ever 100% right, we want to be as sure as we can. So that's important to us. Yeah, so Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, that's what you'll majority the main thing that you'll see from us. But we do have a few golden doodles that are within yeah. Within our within our group. And there no dog. You can say it's 100% hyperallergenic but you know, they tend to be hyper allogenic for some people. That's important.

 

28:33          That's really nice. So let's talk about the partnership with the Tennessee department of corrections. How did, how did that start and how much of a benefit is that for you guys and what goes on with, with something like that?

 

28:47          Yeah, so it's, it's one of the things I think we're the most proud of, but it's the part that people don't see because you know, we can't, it's behind the scenes. Yeah. We can't just invite everybody to come into our program building at the attorney center in LA, Tennessee, or at the women's prison off of Briley. You know, that's so it's, it's difficult sometimes because we want to share more of their personal stories and things like that, but, you know, we have to be respectful of their privacy and things like that. But I will say that from my own observations, this sort of the way the trainers work with the counselors is really this beautiful thing because I think a lot of times you don't even, they don't even realize that they're changing because they're just thinking about the dog because the inmates loved that.

 

29:38          They loved the dog that they're caring for. Right. Is it an individual inmates with one particular dog and then the overall what trainer? So the way we, the way we do it and everybody's different we like to have both people in the cell as the trainers. Okay. Because we all have bad days or we all get tired. So you can sort of hand off to the other person. And we also want, if the dog's in a cell with somebody, we want the person in the cell to understand the training methods. Again, because we're all about positivity. So we don't reprimand the dogs, we don't pull on them, we don't force them to do anything. Right. And so it's important to us that the people that are interacting with them follow those. So it's two inmates per dog. Okay. Well that's awesome.

 

30:22          Wow. and then that period of time where they're kind of in their, their basic training what does that process look like? Cause I know that's very volunteer, volunteer heavy. So how did, when they're, when they're puppies, what's that life like until they go into the training with the department of corrections?

 

30:41          So our volunteers are the most amazing people you'll ever meet. I mean, the things that they do for, for these pups is just phenomenal. And they all do it knowing that they may never see this dog once their place. Right. Which to me I think is one of the greatest acts of service that you can do. But so our volunteers do everything you can imagine for us. But the main thing that they do is we have what we call puppy raisers. So when the pups are eight weeks, they go live with a puppy raiser for another eight weeks, 100% full time. They potty train those puppies. They get up in the middle of the night with those puppies. They take them to the veterinarian to get their vaccines. I mean, Oh wow. It's a big job. It's like having a newborn in your house. It's a big job.

 

31:26          I mean this is really so kind that these people do this. And then when the dogs are at 16 weeks, that's when they officially enter the, the prisons. But obviously for the inmate trainers, you know, they're not going to restaurants, they're not going to the movies, they're not doing a lot of things that we need the dogs to know how to do. So then we have what we call weekend furlough volunteers and we drive our big bus down to the prison and we get the dogs and we bring them back to Franklin, Tennessee. And at four 30 on a Friday, everybody's waiting there and the dogs are so excited to see their volunteers and they volunteer or is it different volunteers? So each dog has like a team. So there could be, you know, three families, five families, you know, whatever that looks like, volunteer for that weekend and then, okay, great. Yeah. So they're with them from Friday to Sunday and their job is to expose them to as many new things as possible. So we want them to meet all different kinds of people. Different ages go to different places.

 

32:26          So you're saying the weekends in downtown Franklin are pretty, pretty hopping?

 

32:31          Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And in Murfreesboro and Nashville and Mount Juliet, I mean we have, we have so many people that drive and into cool Springs on a Friday to pick up these dogs. So kind of people that take their dogs hiking. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. We want the dogs to fly on airplanes. I mean, anything. We want him to go to the beach. So our dogs, they get around, they try to have a great time. That's really, really cool. Yeah. Yeah. So we really want them to sort of have, you know, a norm, like a life experience that they would have with their recipient. We've recently had a volunteer that's at a charter school, so she was taking the puppy on a regular basis to the school. So that's great. You know, the dog gets used to being around a lot of kids. Wow, that's amazing.

 

33:15          So how do you believe your organization has impacted inmates in the Tennessee department of correction with this program of training the dogs? So we have some just really beautiful stories. But we do want to be able to share in a little bit more concrete way what's happening. So we're working right now with T doc to put together a three year research study to really measure the effects. Obviously when you're thinking about rehabilitation within a prison system, so many people think about recidivism, but a third of our trainers at the men's prison in particular are there for life. And so we can't really measure recidivism because they're not going to get out. But we want to understand what does it look like for them from a wellness standpoint. So we're working to, to build towards that, where we can measure what does wellness look like, what is their level of shame look like, things like that, so that we can really see what the impact is.

 

34:16          And it'll help us be better as well. You know, maybe we need to tweak our training, our counseling program, maybe we need to be there more, you know, just things like that. So we have beautiful stories from them, but we also want to be able to marry that with a little bit of data to show what's happening. But, so I think I said, we're starting a new camp on Friday. We kicked that off at the graduation at the prison. And so during that time, the inmate trainers get to speak their families get to come, which for them is really incredible. It's really a beautiful thing. And so many of them will, you know, say to their families in particular how much the dog has changed them wow. And changed how they, you know, do their relationships with others and things like that.

 

35:04          There is never a dry eye at that. Yeah. How many, how many dogs are currently being trained right now? So at the attorney center and only Tennessee, we have 18 dogs. And then at the women's prison we have eight dogs right now. Okay. So with the dogs that you're currently training how many typically graduate do you, so you guys get, do a school or like a training program, how many times a year? So we generally have two, what we call graduations per year where the dogs will come out and be placed their recipients. We try to always have puppies ready to go in. Okay. We don't like our inmate trainers to be without a dog of course. Yeah. So, you know, when we're looking at breeding and things like that, it's always a very fine line and fingers are crossed, you know, that pregnancies are happening and things like that. But so we've, at any given time, we have the dogs that are in and then we have the puppies. So the puppies aren't in until four weeks. So we almost always kind of had this mix, some older dogs and training and some in the middle. Oh, that's awesome. So how many, how many years grieving independence been working with the department of corrections? So we started right from the beginning, so since 2012 okay. That's amazing. But the women's prison was just a new addition in 2019 so we're really excited about that. Okay.

 

36:28          You know, being a part of an organization like this where you're stretching out into so many different communities, what are some of the challenges that you guys face with all of these things that you do?

 

36:39          So I think a lot of times people look at us and they just see a service dog organization and obviously that's, you know, that's the end goal for us. That's, that's what we're doing this for. But that piece about the inmate rehabilitation I do think is something that makes us really unique compared to other organizations. And even there are other service dog organizations that train within prison systems throughout the United States. But we don't know of any others that have counseling as a part of it. And so we really do see ourselves as impacting health for that population and for the recipient population as well. Yeah, that's incredible. But sometimes that's a hard story to tell because we can't, we can't film inside the prison. We can't take their pictures. We can't, I can't hand you what they've written. Yeah.

 

37:28          Well then what are some of the, you know, there's obviously a lot of success stories that happen inside of there. What are, because of that training, what are the, of some of the success stories that are happening outside of the prisons? You know, when, when those, those dogs are helping some of the, the people they end up getting matched up with.

 

37:46          Yeah. So I think, you know, the stories where you've got, you know, a 15 year old living with epilepsy that just wants independence from her parents, you know, as you can imagine. And they, you know, want to be by her side all the time because her seizures are unpredictable. You know, we place a dog with her and as the parents get more comfortable and the parents come to the training as well. So we practice alert with mom and dad. We teach the dog how to go get mom or dad. And so it creates this level of independence. And that's the reason that's in our name is because so many of our recipients, when we ask them what do they want from having a service dog, independence is what they want. It doesn't matter if you're 15 or 55, you know, if you're 55, but you don't want your spouse to have to do everything for you, you know.

 

38:39          So I think it's seeing that change in people, that confidence where they know, you know, I can go somewhere by myself, but I'm not actually by myself because I have my service dog with me. It's amazing to watch people change. I would say also people living with debilitating anxiety to see what the change the change for them. We had somebody in one of our last classes and she's a young woman, but she's, you know, I think she's around 30 and, but she's living back with her parents now. Just due to some of the things that have happened to her and her anxiety had gotten so bad that she was really, she'd become a gorg, a phobic and she was not affectionate with her parents and we were in camp and she put her head on her mom's shoulder and her mother afterwards said she hadn't touched her in eight months. Wow. And for the mother, that was like, I can almost get choked up for it because for the mother it was huge. It's her daughter. So to see that it's just, it's beautiful.

 

39:45          Gosh, that, that is amazing. While we're talking about this, obviously, you know, we've talked about how important volunteers are to something like this with a lot of nonprofits. Like it's hard, it's hard to function without volunteers because like, they're just people who have amazingly seen the bigger picture and they're able to, you know, give their time. I'm sure you guys are, are still seeking for active volunteers and everything. So what are some of the things that you guys are looking for with volunteers and how can people become involved?

 

40:19          So we're always looking for puppy raisers. Like I said, those people are walking around with, you know, halos above their heads. We just, we just had two letters, so we think our next round of needing puppy raisers are probably be this summer, but there's training and things that that would be involved before that happens. So, you know, we'd love to get people more involved with the organization and then the weekend program, you know, is always available. And now that we've expanded in the women's president, we definitely need more, more people there. That's cool. And then anything with running an Aqua profit, right? If somebody is great with you know, PR or fundraising or loves to do events, you know, things like that are always huge because Nashville is such a giving community, but there's so many nonprofits here that sometimes getting your voice heard can be a challenge. And so honestly, our volunteers are some of our very best advocates. I mean, they're walking advertisements. That's how we learned about you guys. Yeah. It was from one of your volunteers. Thank you.

 

41:24          The, we'll, we'll, we'll kind of wrap this up and then talk about Nashville a little bit. Where are you guys on social media so people can see all the cute pictures of the, of the,

 

41:32          Yeah, so we

 

41:34          Are we're a big on Instagram. So retrieving independence. We're on Twitter, our eye service dogs, and then we're on Facebook as well. Yeah. Facebook link, retrieving independence. Right. Awesome. Okay, so let's talk about Nashville. We'll, we'll can continue in with retrieving independence and we'll talk more about you. How has Nashville and that middle Tennessee community been an impact with retrieving independence? Do you think it's, you know, it's location in middle Tennessee has, has been a part of its success as far as like, you know, versus anywhere else in, in, in the United States. Yeah.

 

42:14          So I'm, I'm a native, so, you know, take that [inaudible]. Yeah. So, you know, I have a big, big love for Nashville. So, you know, my answer is going to be, of course we would not be where we are without the amazing community. But I do think there is a difference that I see in our volunteers. They don't just show up to do the job that we've asked of them. They are incredibly proactive. They are out in the community talking about us. They're thinking about things that we could be doing differently or, or you know, how we you know, even just how we function, you know, from an operation standpoint, you know, can, can we help you do this? Can we help you do that? They'll buy supplies for us without even asking us. I mean, just amazing, amazing examples of going above and beyond and they're already doing so much.

 

43:03          So it's not as if there's just sort of, you know, one foot in, one foot out. They're already fully in and doing what I feel is an incredible amount of work. So many of them have full time jobs and then get off from work during the week and pick up the job. And sometimes, you know, the dogs get sick and they've got to run them to the vet or different things and they just, they never complain. They're just so kind. And I do think that's a big part of Nashville. I think we are just a very helpful hands on community and I've really seen it in my experience with retrieving and finance.

 

43:35          Yeah, that's amazing. All right, so Nashville as a whole we always like to, to sneak in, you know, some of the favorites of Nashville when we can. What are your summer, some of your favorite things, you know, obviously you've grown up here. What are your summer, some of your favorite things about this area?

 

43:52          So I went to elementary school at Aiken elementary and, Oh, I don't know if you're familiar with the dragon park that's right behind that elementary school, but for me that is like one of my favorite spots. Cool. I'm so happy to see that that's been cared for and revitalized, but just such a unique place to, you know, take your kids. And then I love Hillsboro village, you know, again, just sort of growing up in that area. And love the Belcourt. I think it's such a great piece of Nashville to have that. Do you have a favorite restaurant? Hillsborough village? I don't have a very favorite and Hillsborough village. But they're all really great. Yeah. How often do you go to the pancake pantry? You don't go that often anymore. I went to Belmont for undergrad and we would go there a lot. So I think I had too many pancakes in college.

 

44:44          What are some of your, the, the restaurants in the eateries in Nashville or Franklin that you really like to frequent? Yeah, so I think one of my new favorites is charitable, which is right off of Charlotte. I'm probably been going there more than I should describe that. What I've heard about it, but I don't know exactly what it is. So one of our local, we have so many famous local chefs, but one of them, the mini challenge, it's one of her restaurants. I think it's her newest one. Is it Americano food or, Oh, okay. Yeah. Yeah. So, and it's beautiful inside and the service is great and the menu is just really fresh and eclectic and it's just, I don't know, it's got a really nice feel to it. No, that's awesome. Yeah. What's what's one thing that you really enjoy about Franklin?

 

45:31          I love downtown Franklin. It's very sweet and charming. The theater that they have there is really nice as well. Although I do find myself with the Belcourt more, but I think it's just, you know, different selections of films. Also. Do you have a favorite place for the dogs? If the dogs like to go in this area in Nashville? So we just named one of the puppies Nash. Oh, that's awesome. And he was just at a Preds game. Bandana. Yeah. National bandana. Yes. Absolutely. So I just actually got some pictures of him today at the game and apparently he was the star and he's really young. So when they're before they've had all their vaccinations, they have to ride in a stroller, which sounds kind of crazy, but you know, we've got a protecting. Yeah. But we like to start socializing them as early as possible so to protect their health. So apparently he was, he was very proud of himself ride through. Oh, I guess that's awesome. Everybody needs to go to their Instagram right now cause that's probably going to be on there and take a look at Nash. That's really, really cool. Awesome. Well thank you Jessica. We appreciate you being on and and everything and we look forward to hearing more about retrieving independence in the future. Yeah. Great. Thank you so much for having me.

 

46:49          All right. Thank you guys for listening. We hope you enjoyed the interview with Jessica. Make sure to definitely go follow them on Instagram and check out all the amazing pictures. We look forward to being back with you guys tomorrow to give you D events for the weekend. So we hope you have a great Thursday rest of the day. Hope that it is bright, sunny and happy, and we will see you tomorrow.