An Interview With The Dog Lady of Lansing Prison

Feb 19, 11:30 AM
Get ready for a wild ride. This week, we sat down with Toby Dorr, who made international headlines in 2006 when she helped an inmate escape from Lansing Federal Prison. 

Back then, her name was Toby Young, and she had what seemed like a normal life. She was married. She had two kids. She had a demanding corporate job. But the truth was that Toby felt isolated and unhappy. Following a layoff and a battle with cancer, Toby wanted to live a more meaningful life. So she created the Safe Harbor Prison Dog program, where she brought dogs in to be trained by inmates at the Lansing Correctional Facility. 

But while she was there, she fell in love with an inmate named John Manard. John was serving a life sentence for felony murder, due to his role in a fatal carjacking. Despite their differences, Toby felt a bond with John that she didn’t feel in her marriage. So on February 12, 2006, she helped John escape prison in a dog crate. Toby and John were on the run for 12 days before they were caught, thanks to a high speed chase. 

Toby was sentenced to 27 months in prison for her role in the escape. In the years since then, Toby has worked on herself. She doesn’t let the escape define her. She doesn’t downplay what she did, or shift the blame toward John. Instead, she tells her story in the hope that it will help other women. 

Let us be the first to tell you… if you’ve read a few headlines and thought, “how the hell could anyone do that?!?” Give this episode a listen. Toby’s story is worth hearing. 

If you’d like to learn more about Toby Dorr, check out her website at tobydorr.com. Be on the lookout for her forthcoming memoir, Unleashed