Puppies for Parole brings veterans comfort

1 year 5 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, October 25 2016 Oct 25, 2016 Tuesday, October 25, 2016 3:47:00 PM CDT October 25, 2016 in News
By: Kiara Ealy, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

MEXICO — A formerly stray dog named Soldier is now helping veterans and their families when they needed it the most.

Initially taken in at the Garrett Animal Shelter in Fulton, Soldier was running out of time when the Puppies for Parole program at Algoa Correctional Center decided to give him a try.

“Our Puppies for Parole coordinator here at the institution contacted the Mexico Veterans Home and talked to them about the possibility of them wanting a house dog and they agreed,” said Louisa Bolinger, deputy warden of offender management at the center.

Bolinger and two veterans from the Mexico home made their way to Fulton to pick out a dog that could be trained and be adopted by staff at the veteran’s home. They chose a yellow lab/retriever mix and named him Soldier.

“We showed up there, and actually, Soldier was in one of the outside pens and at first he was scared of the two veterans,” Bolinger said.

Soldier found ball caps and motorized wheelchairs intimidating at the time of the visit. However, he was still selected as the house dog for the veteran’s home, but the home's representatives said there was just something about him.

From there, Soldier was assigned to two offender handlers at the correctional center and participated in Canine Good Citizen training, an 8-10 week program for dogs in Puppies for Parole.

“He had a very sweet, genuine personality and he was very bright,” Bolinger said. “So we knew that he would be the perfect fit for the veteran’s home.”

Puppies for Parole was started in 2010 by Missouri Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi. Since then, the program has become a part of 19 out of the 21 correctional institutions in the state. More than 4,000 dogs have been saved, trained and adopted through the program.

It’s also not just puppies helping people.

“We have taken that (Fulton) from a high euthanization rate shelter to a zero euthanasia rate for adoptable dogs,” Bolinger said.

Lombardi said he started the program to help with the issue of puppy mills in the state. He said he’s seen the program give offenders a sense of compassion, while also bettering the atmosphere in correctional facilities.

“One of the things I didn’t foresee was the amazing fact that, as the program started, more than half the dogs at almost every prison were adopted by the staff of the prison,” Lombardi said. “So you can see where that would improve the relationship, in many ways, between staff and offenders.”

At the Mexico Veterans Home, residents are happy to have Solider as a comfort companion.

Former Marine and resident Dwight Hudspeth has seen Soldier four-fives times a week for the last five years.

“No matter what kind of day you started off with, seeing Soldier come by, how he stops and likes to visit, greets, it makes your day. It brightens your whole day,” Hudspeth said. “I’ve been honored and blessed to be here; Soldier adds to that very greatly. I’ve been here six years- - I hope I’m here 15 - and I hope Soldier is with me every step of the way.”

More News

Grid
List
CLAYTON (AP) — A former St. Louis-area teacher will be on five years of probation for having sex with a... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:43:59 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
UNIVERSITY CITY (AP) — A former St. Louis-area day care teaching assistant has been found guilty of molesting a 5-year-old... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:40:09 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY -- Firefighters responded to a structure fire in the 100 block of E. Ashley St. at 11:08 p.m.... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 6:27:00 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri legislators approved numerous changes Thursday to local elections, including allowing voters to request absentee ballots... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 5:27:13 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY - Casey Shoemate, a 26-year-old Miller County sheriff's deputy, died Friday night after colliding head-on with another vehicle... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 10:05:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Retailer Sears will close its Columbia Mall store this summer because the location has become unprofitable. Sears Director... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 8:46:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- A local non-profit organization, Columbia Access Television, hosted a 24-hour film contest that started Friday at 5:30 pm. ... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 7:13:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - Community members are coming together to help a family who lost their children in a fire get... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 7:10:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – As more and more fraternities face misconduct charges across the nation, the Greek community of MU is looking... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 6:13:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Gov. Eric Greitens is remaining defiant in the face of a new felony charge. On... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 5:45:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Children filled school gymnasiums across Columbia for the second day of the Unbound Book Festival. The festival showcases... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:42:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - April 20 marks the day of the Columbine school shooting, which claimed 13 lives. The Columbia Missouri... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:26:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A potential fire station project on an annexed lot in southwest Columbia could lead to quicker response times... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:21:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - After the deadly fire in Lake Ozark, officials from the Division of Fire Safety are working to... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:01:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For 13 years, Rhonda Harper has been at the helm of Lincoln University's "Marching Musical Storm." ... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 2:26:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - It’s been a little more than two months since the Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 2:04:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a suburban St. Louis police officer fired at a would-be robber about four weeks... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 1:35:11 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lab tests on an unknown substance sent to a Missouri lawmaker suggest it was pesticide.... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 1:31:19 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
11am 60°
12pm 61°
1pm 63°
2pm 64°