Deaf Dog Thrives at MSD Through Puppies For Parole Program

3 years 11 months 1 week 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
COLUMBIA - Dryer’s Shoe Store is one of Columbia's oldest downtown retailers, and it is currently running a shoe drive... More >>
8 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 10:13:00 PM CDT in News
GLASGOW- The Missouri River was more than six feet above flood stage levels in Glasgow Monday afternoon. The entire... More >>
11 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 7:37:00 PM CDT in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - The Missouri State Highway Patrol tested new extended Water Patrol shifts this Memorial Day weekend.... More >>
11 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 7:01:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis' police chief is calling the city's judges too lenient with defendants in alleged gun... More >>
13 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 5:25:00 PM CDT in News
ZALMA (AP) — A southe astern Missouri man is charged with assault after authorities say he tried to set his... More >>
14 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 4:29:29 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Authorities in southwester n Missouri's Gree ne County say a jailer is recovering after being seriously injured... More >>
14 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 4:24:53 PM CDT in News
LONE ELM - Some people barbecue or head down to the lake to celebrate Memorial Day, but one community celebrates... More >>
14 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 3:59:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY - Mid-missourians honored their fallen service members at memorial services across Boone County on Monday afternoon. Boone... More >>
15 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:53:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A 21-gun salute and triple bell service honored veterans Monday at the Jefferson City National Cemetery. ... More >>
16 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:43:00 PM CDT in News
TIPTON - Members of the community in Tipton are mourning the loss of a 19-year-old Robert Ashbaugh who was shot... More >>
16 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:32:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The 28th annual Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Parade has some remembering what this day means to them.... More >>
16 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:15:00 PM CDT in News
TIPTON (AP) — Missouri state authorities say they are investigating a weekend shooting death involving a 19-year-old man in central... More >>
16 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:14:38 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News viewer Sheila Baker said her family was awed at the Salute to Veterans Celebration and... More >>
17 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 1:19:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Regulations aimed at helping companies such as Uber and Lyft expand in Missouri died in the... More >>
18 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 12:41:00 PM CDT in News
HAVANA - Cuba formally accepted a 20-ton shipment of rice processed in southeast Missouri Monday. Gov. Jay Nixon announced the... More >>
18 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 12:21:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - As an event promoter for Off Track Events, Colin LaVaute has planned plenty of races in his work... More >>
1 day ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 3:01:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Over 600 people in south Columbia experienced power outages around 10 p.m. according to Columbia Water and Light.... More >>
1 day ago May 29, 2016 May 29, 2016 Sunday, May 29 2016 Sunday, May 29, 2016 11:44:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY - Flooding along the banks of the Missouri River caused a change of plans for some Mid-Missouri residents... More >>
1 day ago May 29, 2016 May 29, 2016 Sunday, May 29 2016 Sunday, May 29, 2016 6:02:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 64°
7am 66°
8am 68°
9am 70°
10am 72°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
6:30a
Are We There Yet?
7:00a
Intelligence for Your Life
7:30a
Cops Reloaded

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
9:00p
Maya & Marty
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
Containment
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld