Puppies for Parole brings veterans comfort

9 months 2 weeks 6 days 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
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A black firefighters organization has settled its 2015 lawsuit against the city of St. Louis over... More >>
20 minutes ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:06:55 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Public Service Commission denied grant approval of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line that would... More >>
52 minutes ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 11:35:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
CREVE COEUR (AP) — With his suburban St. Louis meeting with the Israeli ambassador as a backdrop, Missouri's first Jewish... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:57:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
FULTON - The President of William Woods University announced Wednesday that the university's main campus in Fulton will be closed... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:40:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in Eclipse Impact
COLUMBIA - Police officers responded to a report of a shooting on Greensboro Drive around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Officers... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:18:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA — Two organizations will host a town hall on Wednesday to discuss the impacts of Gov. Eric Greitens' veto... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:10:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt says he's backing fellow Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley to run... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:41:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a woman has been arrested on charges of embezzling more than $2 million while... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:25:45 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Chicago podiatrist has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison and ordered to... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:23:45 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Law enforcement are urging anyone who recognizes a man accused of robbing St. Louis-area Walgreens stores... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:21:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
FULTON - The Fulton Police Department received a call about a trespassing in progress at 101 Spruce St. 2:15 a.m.... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:22:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - (We've now updated this story. See the details here .) Police were investigating a Tuesday night shooting on... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 1:15:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Two local groups gathered at City Hall Tuesday to stand in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville and... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, August 15 2017 Aug 15, 2017 Tuesday, August 15, 2017 7:32:00 PM CDT August 15, 2017 in Top Stories
CLINTON (AP) - A 27-year-old man has been charged with hindering prosecution in the killing of a western Missouri police... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, August 15 2017 Aug 15, 2017 Tuesday, August 15, 2017 6:40:00 PM CDT August 15, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released results from the statewide Missouri Assessment Program, and... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, August 15 2017 Aug 15, 2017 Tuesday, August 15, 2017 6:06:00 PM CDT August 15, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Attorneys for a Missouri death row inmate are asking the state Supreme Court and Gov. Eric... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, August 15 2017 Aug 15, 2017 Tuesday, August 15, 2017 3:56:54 PM CDT August 15, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Latest on questions about Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's residency (all times local): Noon:... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, August 15 2017 Aug 15, 2017 Tuesday, August 15, 2017 3:35:00 PM CDT August 15, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A different kind of phone scam is emerging — leaving businesses and others vulnerable. Now, there... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, August 15 2017 Aug 15, 2017 Tuesday, August 15, 2017 3:21:00 PM CDT August 15, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 78°
1pm 82°
2pm 85°
3pm 85°
4pm 85°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
12:30p
Inside Edition
1:00p
Days of Our Lives
12:00p
Jerry Springer
1:00p
Maury
2:00p
Judge Alex

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
8:00p
Marlon
8:30p
Marlon
9:00p
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
7:00p
Arrow
8:00p
Supernatural
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld