Monthly Archives: March 2016

March 2016

Hello to everyone,

Well, as I am continuously encouraged by my family to express my thoughts and feelings in this blog, I felt compelled to share what has recently happened and how my days have drastically changed…

Two weeks ago I received some devastating news from the prison’s administration. Apparently, the administration had decided to remove me from the NEADS Service Dog Program.

Imagine my surprise when just the day before I was told by the program’s liaison that the NEADS Trainer had decided that since I was one of the senior handlers and I had done so well with Dancer, she wanted to bring me an 8 week-old puppy to train. I was ecstatic. With Dancer’s recent graduation just a couple of weeks earlier, I was eager to get started training a new puppy right away. Further, getting a new puppy is an honor that is usually only granted to the most dedicated and skilled handlers. The fact that the NEADS Trainer had chosen to give me a new puppy was a great distinction. Imagine my surprise when, alternatively, the very next day the prison’s administration decided to remove me from the program.

A bittersweet moment between Brian and Dancer at graduation. A dog senses when her trainer is hurting. Brian pets Dancer's head to soothe her but who is comforting who? March 1, 2016

A bittersweet moment between Brian and Dancer at graduation. A dog senses when her trainer is hurting. Brian pets Dancer’s head to soothe her but who is comforting who?
March 1, 2016

I was heartbroken. I can’t even put into words how terrible I felt. Everything that gave my life meaning behind these walls was just taken from me. Being in prison for twenty years as an innocent man is difficult enough; removing me from the NEADS Program was like yanking a life preserver from a drowning man.

Needless to say, my days have changed drastically. I was moved from the dog unit to a more restrictive unit. I now seldom, if ever, come into contact with the dogs I’ve grown to love. Now, rather than spending my days training and working with dogs, I spend up to 17 hours a day locked in a two-man cell. I went from helping disabled people, to a mundane and meaningless existence.

The two years I spent in the NEADS Program meant a lot to me. It gave my days purpose while allowing me to give back to my community. I am grateful that I was able to train three service dogs that were placed with disabled children. I know that those dogs changed the lives of those children. I am proud of that. There is a saying in prison: “Nothing that is good lasts.” Knowing that, I cherished every day that I had with the dogs. And I was thankful for the opportunity.

I still have much to be thankful for. And I am. I have an amazing support system. I have many friends and family that love and support me. I have an amazing legal team fighting every day to bring me home. And I have hope for a future outside of prison. It’s a lot. It’s more than most. I will stay strong and I will stay optimistic. I will not let this terrible place change who I am in my heart. But I cannot hide the truth: I am devastated and heartbroken. But, I am strong. I’ll get through this. And I always remember… every day that I survive in this place brings me One Day Closer.

PLEASE NOTE: We, Brian’s family and friends, believe Brian’s sudden removal from the NEADS Program was retaliation by the prison’s administrators and a direct result of Brian cooperating with the reporter from “Boston Magazine.” Prior to Brian’s interview, he was warned not to do the interview. Specifically, during an interrogation about the interview he was told that his position in the NEADS Program could be at risk. Prison administration at MCI-Concord attempted to stop the interview; however, the reporter went over the administrator’s head and had that decision overruled by the Department of Correction’s Central office. Then, just two weeks after the article was released online, the MCI-Concord prison administration arbitrarily and punitively removed Brian from the NEADS Service Dog Program. Prison administrators have refused to provide any explanation to Brian, written or otherwise other than it was an “administrative decision.”

                Brian has met or exceeded all NEADS program expectations. At the prison he has and continues to be disciplinary report free. He has received positive work, housing, and program evaluations. This action was punitive and clearly retaliatory.

                After being removed from the program he was asked by the NEADS liaison to attend the meet and greet/graduation ceremony on March 1st.  It was the first graduation in nearly a year. Although he did not want to attend and be further upset by the situation, Brian attended as the only handler from the program graduating a dog. He did not mention this incident when he spoke at the ceremony. He did not correct Dancer’s new owner who wished him continued success with his next dog. He barely kept himself together but he did it. He carried himself with maturity and spoke with integrity. He represented the NEADS Program responsibly. He did the right thing.

                In our support of Brian, we are contacting Thomas Turco, Undersecretary of Criminal Justice at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security-the agency that oversees the Department of Correction. We are asking him, “If it is the mission of the Department of Correction to protect public safety through providing inmates with programming, why then did the administration at MCI-Concord arbitrarily remove Brian Peixoto from a program where he was training service dogs for disabled people in our communities?”

                Support for Brian’s innocence grows every day and for that we are grateful. Folks have always asked what they can do to help to support Brian. We ask that you contact Undersecretary Turco directly as we are (above.) Massachusetts residents can reach out to local state legislators via email and request that they contact Mr. Turco. Our hope is that an inquiry from the Undersecretary will prompt officials at MCI Concord to reconsider their decision to remove Brian, and also that he will be reinstated and allowed to return to training service dogs.

                While we are always One Day Closer, we are asking that you assist in our efforts to make it so that Brian spends these days doing what he is great at and what he plans to do with his life once free – training service dogs for people with special needs.

                Thank you for your continued support.


Dancer’s graduation

Hello to everyone,

I know when it has been a while since last I posted when Lisa starts reminding me it’s time to get writing. The truth is it’s difficult for me to write a post. I often feel like I am writing the same things over and over again. I also don’t want to come across as depressing or complaining. In reality, my days are very mundane and often filled with quiet sadness. There are, however, small glimmers of light in my dark days. Getting to call Lisa is a highlight of my day. Also, getting visits from my family and friends. And probably the biggest highlight has always been working with the dogs.

I don’t mean to sound depressing or ungrateful for the wonderful things happening in my case. All of the advances in my case are remarkable. And all of the positive attention is incredible. It’s just that I’m tired. Twenty years is a long time. Twenty years is a VERY long time. It can be hard to stay positive. I have to constantly remind myself of the wonderful family and friends I have that love and support me. Or the amazing legal team I have working diligently to bring me home. And all of the incredible support we received after the article came out in Boston Magazine. I have so much more than so many others. I have hope. I hope for a future. I am grateful. I really am. It can just be very hard to fight off the negative influences and the darkness that fills my every day of being in prison for a crime I did not commit. It’s hard.

Brian and Dancer during the dog days of summer 2015

Brian and Dancer during the dog days of summer 2015

I am also struggling right now with the loss of my dog. Yes, Dancer has finally graduated. It is bitter sweet. I’ve known all along that the goal was to train her for a disabled person and that she would ultimately leave to change someone’s life. Well, on February 10th it happened. After raising and training her for 15 months, Dancer left to go to her forever home. Dancer was matched with a 15 year-old autistic girl. Dancer will work with the girl as a social dog to give her confidence in social situations. I am very proud of her. I was extremely fortunate to meet the mother of the disabled girl who received Dancer. At a meet-and-greet at the prison, the child’s mother came in to meet the man who trained the dog for her daughter. I was extremely honored. It was very emotional. She brought Dancer in with her and I got to see her. I have to admit; I lost control of my emotions and made a fool of myself. I took a picture with Dancer and the poor thing was freaked out at how emotional I was. Still, all and all it was an amazing experience and I was grateful for the opportunity to meet Dancer’s new mommy and to see her again. I know that Dancer will bring happiness and joy to that family’s lives and that I had a small part to play in it. I am honored, but I will miss her.

Dancer's graduation to the red vest-full service dog status March 1, 2016

Dancer’s graduation to the red vest-full service dog status:  March 1, 2016

As always I want to thank everyone for their love and support. Lisa reads your comments to me every day. Thank you for your kind encouragement and kind words. I smile as I hear them and I love and appreciate every word.

We continue to struggle in our fight. We sometimes stumble and merely survive one more day. But one thing is for sure, every day brings us one day closer…