Deaf Dog Thrives at MSD Through Puppies For Parole Program

4 years 4 days 14 hours ago June 22, 2012 Jun 22, 2012 Friday, June 22 2012 Friday, June 22, 2012 11:32:00 AM CDT in News
By: Paige Flores

FULTON - Two years ago Sparky - a black and white speckled, frosty-eyed Daschund - was untrained, unwanted and unloved.

That is until he found a new home at the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton.

Visit the school during the semester and you'll find Sparky bouncing down the halls, poking his head into each classroom, and making sure the more than 100 students who live and learn there are kept in line.

Although his squatty stature makes it easy for him to get lost in the crowd, Sparky has no trouble getting noticed.

"He does not fear anyone and as a matter of fact, he is pretty assertive in seeking out attention. Some may call him spoiled. He has a very loud bark," the Missouri School for the Deaf Superintendent Barbara Garrison said.

The latter has students at MSD mesmerized.

"They'll say, 'Well..Sparky can talk!' And I say well...Sparky makes noise just like you can make noise," she said.

Something as small as a bark or whine has Garrison's students realizing...

"Oh...he's like me...he's just like me."

Before he made his debut at MSD two years ago, Sparky was trained through the Puppies for Parole program at the Southeast Correctional Facility in Licking.

The program gives selected offenders the opportunity to train rescue dogs, in hopes of making them more adoptable.

"Offenders who have shown good behavior and have no convictions of animal cruelty are chosen for the program," Missouri Department of Corrections Public Information Officer Mandi Steele said.

The program doesn't use any general revenue, and is funded entirely by donations - 1,112 dogs to date have enrolled in the program, and 853 have successfully been adopted. The program is active in 18 different correctional facilities across the state.

At the Algoa Correctional Facility in Jefferson City, offender Christopher Tate said training his dog Puddin has made a lasting impact on his life.

"The main thing is that it helped me change my mindset," Tate said. "I'm kind of stubborn and like doing things my own way. Working with the dogs has taught me responsibility and how to go about things in a different way".

When Sparky's training time was up at the Southeast Correctional Facility, staff at the Licking jail raised the money to pay off Sparky's adoption fee. Not long after, Garrison received a call asking if MSD would want a new addition to their family.

"We were thrilled and said yes, by all means bring him. When the students came back from Christmas break, they were introduced to Sparky and instantly fell in love", Garrison said.

Although it's the inmate's duty to instruct each dog, it's easy to see that both learn so much from one another.

And in a place full of educators, Sparky fits in perfectly. But what he teaches isn't something you can find in a textbook.

Communication, loyalty, and love.

Garrison says there is one example of "Sparky's Magic" that she and her staff will never forget.

"We had a student that had been a victim of abuse and did not trust anyone, but wouldn't talk about it, not with anybody", she said. "During that student's first visit with Sparky, we just kind of left the room and let him do his magic and when we peeked in the room again, the student had Sparky in their lap and was signing their story of what had happened."

"That student trusted Sparky...and didn't trust anybody else. It amazed us all."

It's summertime, which means lockers are empty, textbooks are shut, and Sparky's only company is Garrison's four other Daschunds - Max, Ladybug, Ginger, and Angel. But when August comes around, Sparky will be back patrolling the hallways once again.

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
FESTUS (AP) — Authorities say a Missouri man and his dog have died after being struck by lightning. ... More >>
2 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 10:07:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — A lightning strike during a storm sparked a house fire in west Columbia Sunday afternoon. The homeowners... More >>
6 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 6:28:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — The American Tiny House Association kicked off Missouri's first "tiny home" festival in Columbia this weekend. "It's... More >>
8 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 4:06:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Crowds lined the streets of downtown St. Louis for the 37th annual Pridefest parade. Mayor... More >>
9 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 3:48:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Disc golf enthusiasts from across the country flocked to Columbia for the 32nd Annual Mid-America Open this weekend.... More >>
10 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 3:01:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — The University of Missouri is fighting a former assistant professor's effort to collect unemployment benefits after she... More >>
10 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 2:17:14 PM CDT in News
TROY (AP) — Crews continued searching for a Missouri woman after her husband was found shot to death of an... More >>
11 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 1:41:06 PM CDT in News
TECUMSEH (AP) — A 13-year-old girl from Springfield has drowned in a river in southwest Missouri. The Missouri... More >>
12 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 12:21:31 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Two people died when the car they were in ran off an interstate overpass in Kansas... More >>
13 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 11:57:53 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Roughly 52 percent of people in the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum... More >>
13 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 11:56:00 AM CDT in News
PERRYVILLE (AP) — A southeast Missouri courthouse that's more than a century old has received national recognition. The Perry... More >>
13 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 11:32:59 AM CDT in News
BALLWIN (AP) — Two teenagers have drowned in the Meramec River at a state park in St. Louis County. ... More >>
13 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 11:07:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The street version of fentanyl blamed in the deaths of thousands of Americans is also threatening... More >>
14 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 10:43:41 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Safe Kids Columbia teamed up with Macher Aquatic Center Sunday for a day of bike and water safety.... More >>
15 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 9:08:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — A new study ranked Missouri in the top 10 least expensive states for car repairs. CarMD, an auto... More >>
22 hours ago June 26, 2016 Jun 26, 2016 Sunday, June 26 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 2:59:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Every Saturday is the local farmer's market in Columbia, but some farmers are saying the lack of rain... More >>
1 day ago June 25, 2016 Jun 25, 2016 Saturday, June 25 2016 Saturday, June 25, 2016 6:37:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Breast cancer survivors had the chance to learn about resources available to them at an annual luncheon held... More >>
1 day ago June 25, 2016 Jun 25, 2016 Saturday, June 25 2016 Saturday, June 25, 2016 5:16:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police have arrested two men for reportedly throwing eggs and shouting racial slurs at... More >>
1 day ago June 25, 2016 Jun 25, 2016 Saturday, June 25 2016 Saturday, June 25, 2016 4:31:24 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 73°
1am 72°
2am 72°
3am 72°
4am 72°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

12:35a
Cindy Crawford's Skincare Secrets
1:05a
Access Hollywood
2:00a
Dateline NBC
12:30a
The King of Queens
1:00a
The King of Queens
1:30a
Intelligence for Your Life

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
8:00p
American Ninja Warrior
7:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
7:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld