After 38 years, a wrongfully convicted man was released from prison, alongside the dog he raised from behind bars.
In 1980, Malcolm Alexander was 21 years old when was sentenced to life in prison for a rape he did not commit.
After spending nearly four decades incarcerated, Alexander walked out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola a free man, after DNA evidence proved his innocence.
But he wouldn't walk out alone. The day after his release, Alexander was reunited with his canine companion.
"I named her Inn because I was innocent and she was innocent," Alexander told CBS New York.
Alexander had been receiving aid from the Innocence Project since 1996 and had just been absolved of his crime less than a month ago.
"The stakes in this case couldn’t have been higher for Mr. Alexander who faced a mandatory sentence of life without parole, yet the attorney that he entrusted with his life did next to nothing to defend him," said Vanessa Potkin, the post-conviction litigation director at the Innocence Project.
"Thirty-eight years is unimaginable. He survived 38 years of anyone's worst nightmare," Potkin added. "Being so removed from society, isolated in essentially hell."
Luckily, Alexander was able to get through his unjust incarceration, attributing his willpower for survival to his black lab, who never left his side.
While there are several programs across the country that allow inmates to raise dogs, Inn was given to Alexander by a friend to become his companion in prison.
Inn accompanied Alexander to his work at the metal shop and wood shop, where he'd also attend to all of her needs.
He said he would constantly remind his dog that "one day we'll be out of here. Just be patient."
Now that he's released, Alexander isn't allowing himself to wallow over the time he's lost in the free world.
"Let what happened be gone, and let's move on. Simple," he said. "I'm surrounded by love."
Now with his newfound freedom, the first thing Alexander has planned is to take his beloved pooch to the park.
"We going to the park and we’re going to chase birds – she likes to chase birds," Alexander said.
"To have a dog is a privilege," he added. "It makes the world different."
Has an animal ever changed your life?