Deaf Dog Thrives at MSD Through Puppies For Parole Program

4 years 6 months 3 weeks 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
Embed Code Copied

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
COOPER COUNTY - Just before 5 a.m. Monday morning, the Cooper County Fire Protection District responded to a structure fire... More >>
31 minutes ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 8:29:00 AM CST in Top Stories
CAMDEN COUNTY - Deputies took a suspect who stabbed three people Sunday into custody without incident. The suspect is awaiting... More >>
10 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 10:20:00 PM CST in Top Stories
BOONE COUNTY - The northbound lanes of Highway 63 near Hinton Road were closed after the engine compartment of a... More >>
11 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 9:49:07 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are hoping to expan d services to Missouri customers... More >>
13 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:50:00 PM CST in News
GRANBY (AP) — Anoth er Missouri school district is c onsidering whether to join 18 others that have adopted a... More >>
13 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:46:03 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Steven Hughes thought he found the perfect car for his family of five — until the title proving... More >>
16 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 4:59:00 PM CST in News
MARSHALL (AP) - Missouri authorities are searching for a suspected parole violator they say exchanged gunfire with a state trooper... More >>
16 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 4:27:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - A break in at popular downtown restaurant Cafe Berlin forced the restaurant to close Sunday, according to a... More >>
18 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 2:19:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Mixed reactions came out of mid-Missouri Sunday as the weekend ice storm began to wind down. While... More >>
20 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 12:07:00 PM CST in News
LAKE OZARK - After being stuck indoors waiting for this ice storm to end, some people might be getting a... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 5:42:00 AM CST in News
MONTGOMERY COUNTY - A man died at the hospital after a car crash on I-70 Saturday night, according to a... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 9:45:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Room at the Inn, Columbia's emergency winter shelter, will remain open through at least Sunday morning due to... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 8:11:17 PM CST in News
FREDERICKTOWN (AP) — Authorities say a 74-year-old woman was killed in a house fire in southeastern Missouri's Madison County. ... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 4:22:00 PM CST in News
PLATTE CITY (AP) — Missouri authorities say one of 13 occupants of a van was killed when the vehicle crashed... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 3:29:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Works sent home all but eight members of its street crew Saturday afternoon because of the... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 2:43:00 PM CST in News
PULASKI COUNTY - A man was arrested after pointing a rifle at deputies and possibly endangering a female and several... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 2:43:00 PM CST in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A southwes tern Missouri man has been ordered to spend two decades in prison for sexually abusing... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 1:32:08 PM CST in News
---UPDATED SUNDAY MORNING (1/15/17)--- MID-MISSOURI - Our Live Doppler 8 First Alert Weather Team has been tracking this ice... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 12:02:00 PM CST in Weather
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 40°
9am 41°
10am 44°
11am 47°
12pm 49°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
10:00a
Jerry Springer

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Celebrity Apprentice
9:00p
Timeless
7:00p
Howie Mandel All-Star Comedy Gala
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld