Dog Finds New Home with Missouri Veterans

Related Story

COLE COUNTY - The Missouri Veterans Home took home a new companion Thursday. Veterans adopted a new dog, Soldier, through the Puppies for Parole program. Prisoners at the Algoa Correctional Center who participate in the program train dogs to make them better behaved and more easily adoptable. Puppies for Parole selects dogs that are on track to be euthanized at an animal shelter. Soldier was part of the program's second graduating class of dogs.

World War II veteran Leonard Armontrout is excited to have a dog in the veterans home. "Dogs are good companions," he said.

Teresa Ames, director of environmental service at the Missouri Veterans Home also said companionship benefits the veterans.

"A dog is something to love and to care for so that they feel needed," she said.

The Missouri Department of Corrections said Puppies for Parole is designed to teach prisoners responsibility. The program requires an application process to participate.

"90 percent is also based on their institutional behavior, and they cannot have any history of animal neglect or animal abuse," Communications Director Chris Cline said. "They can train this dog, and then they start asking questions like ‘What else can I do?' It's really a game changer."

Inmates Rob Summers and Tony Hyde trained Soldier during a ten week program before he left for his new home. Summers took pride in this contribution to the veterans.

"It was an honor for me to train soldier because my father was in the Marine Corps," Summers said. "I always wanted to serve but never got a chance."

Algoa's Puppies for Parole dogs come from Garrett Animal Shelter in Fulton.

"A few of the veterans picked Soldier from the shelter," Ames said.

Program officials choose dogs that would be put to sleep in the near future. So far, 468 dogs have been adopted after Puppies for Parole training. According to the Department of Corrections, the program has an 80 to 85 percent adoption rate.

Veterans from the Missouri Veterans Home chose Soldier from the shelter and also named him. Puppies for Parole is run on donations and does not receive state funding. Visit this link to find out how to donate.