Deaf Dog Thrives at MSD Through Puppies For Parole Program

4 years 7 months 4 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
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Two people were arrested after taking law enforcement on a high speed chase throughout mid-Missouri Sunday, according... More >>
10 hours ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 6:36:00 PM CST in Coverage From Callaway
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A group of homeowners raised money for a man who was arrested in their neighborhood after... More >>
11 hours ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 6:05:00 PM CST in News
OVERLAND - The Overland Police Department cancelled the Amber Alert for a 9-month-old boy Sunday. According to police, the... More >>
14 hours ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 2:10:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has started complaining about the coverage his administration receives, but the Republican... More >>
15 hours ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 1:21:21 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia saw one of its warmest weekends of the year so far with temperatures in the high 60s... More >>
16 hours ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:53:00 PM CST in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY- One man died and another was seriously injured in an overnight crash in Callaway County Sunday. According... More >>
16 hours ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:20:00 PM CST in News
BOONE COUNTY — The Boone County Fire Protection District responded to 12 natural cover fires on Saturday. The Columbia... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 8:28:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia (UUCC) and Missouri Faith Voices hosted a resistance training Saturday to educate... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 6:35:00 PM CST in News
BOONE COUNTY — Two people were taken into custody after leading police on a car chase through multiple counties Saturday... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 5:16:00 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — An online tool has disappeared for people to find out whether they are buying puppies from... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 4:46:00 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A government report shows the number of farms in Missouri fell last year while the remaining... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 4:41:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — The Acting Company based out of New York has crossed the country and is now in Columbia to... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 3:03:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Special Olympics Missouri Regional Basketball Tournament returned to Jefferson City for the third year Saturday. ... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 2:48:00 PM CST in News
JOPLIN (AP) — Supporters of Route 66 are pushing to have the roadway added to a national list of historic... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 1:14:00 PM CST in News
CAMDEN COUNTY — A male suspect attempted to gain entrance to a residence on Hackberry Trace in Montreal Saturday, the... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 1:05:00 PM CST in News
PINEVILLE (AP) — The Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission will be meeting to... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 12:38:29 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — The Homes for Computers Program distributed 40 computers to eligible low-income Columbia families on Saturday. One mother... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 12:33:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Applications for concealed carry permits in Missouri have been dropping after passage last year of a... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 11:21:00 AM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 59°
6am 58°
7am 59°
8am 59°
9am 63°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
5:00a
Paid Program
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
King of the Hill

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
American Ninja Warrior
9:00p
Timeless
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Jane the Virgin
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld