Growing up, I had many furry friends. My favorite dog I had as a kid was Missy. She was a pure bred fawn boxer. Her chest was white and her paws look like she wore white socks. When she would play, she’d jump like a deer running through a forest. Seeing her excited was always funny, her body would curl like the letter c and her butt would continue to sway back and forth. 

Taking her outside on a leash was always a hassle due to her strength and size. Now that I’m in college I have two dogs of my own. A cocker spaniel, poodle mix and a mastiff, standard poodle mix. Both are beautiful, smart, ornery, and spoiled as ever. If they aren’t in bed cuddling next to me than they are running around tearing up the house and grabbing socks out of the dirty close hamper. 

I’ve had many dogs as pets however, k-9’s are not always used as “pets”.

Maryville Treatment Center has a unique program called “Puppies for Parole”. Puppies for Parole is a unique program made possible through Nodaway Humane Society partnerships with animal shelters and animal advocate groups statewide. Selected offenders at Maryville Treatment Center have the opportunity to become trainers to rescued dogs in the program. The offenders work with the dogs teaching them basic obedience skills and how to properly socialize with animals. Once the rescued dogs have successfully completed the program they are sent back to their original shelter to be placed up for adoption. Completing these programs make the dogs more adoptable. Ryndi Roth an employee at the Maryville Treatment Center says, “Puppies for Parole is a great program. Having dogs come to the facility and allow these offenders to socialize with them puts smiles on their faces. Not only does it help the offenders but also the dogs as well. Allowing them to get the opportunity to be more accessible to adoption is great. Everyone needs a dog to call their own”. 

Dating back to the Roman era, dogs have always fought next to their owner. The Molossus dog was the strongest known to the Romans. Dogs served most often as sentries or patrols, though they were sometimes taken into battle. Speed forward to now and K-9’s are still used in law enforcement and military. Military dogs are costly but priceless. They are trained for many different things. Such as bomb detection, weapons, drugs, etc. From watching many military television shows and YouTube videos I can proudly say military dog training can be intense. Dogs are taught to bite someone on command. Many times you will see puppies drop from the program due to the extreme stress of having to bite a human. 

I have seen on occasion a dog with a vest walking next to someone. My first instinct was to pet the furry guy but then I realized I can’t, due to him being a service dog. According to the United States Dog Registry, Service dogs are dogs that have been individually trained to perform a specific task for individuals who have disabilities. The disabilities can vary greatly, and so do the tasks that the service dogs perform. Service dogs can help someone who is hearing – and visually impaired, individual who suffers from seizures or PTSD, and sometimes even dial 911 in the event of an emergency. Many disabled people depend on them every day to help them live their everyday lives.

At the end of the day I believe dogs are essential to mankind. They are truly a man’s best friend. From personal experience my dogs have made my life more enjoyable and are always there to cheer me up on a cloudy day”. 

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