Paws on Parole helps one man find a new best friend
Published September 18th, 2015
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Mike Smith is no stranger to adopting dogs.
His first an Australian Cattle dog tragically passed away. Disheartened after thirteen years of friendship, he searched the web for another of the same breed - leading him to Paws on Parole.
"This was in 2012 and I came up here and I adopted Goody, and I had (him) for three years,” says Smith. But in 2014, Smith's car was hit by a reckless driver and Goody was killed. He was left with multiple injuries, a load of debt, but for Smith, the hardest part was a broken heart.
Until he received a phone call from an old friend. “The Paws on Parole program contacted me and let me know when I got out I could get another dog and here I am,” says Smith.
Roxie's trainer is a prison inmate named Curtis Morrisson. He's been around for a week but says it’’s refreshing to see the impact the dogs, especially Roxie, have on other inmates. "There's a peace about them, there’s a love that we just talked about that comes out of the dog that just encompasses everything around it," says Morrisson.
And Chris Southerland, a warden at Marion Correctional Institute, says it’s great to see the bond the inmates share with the dogs. “They are there to show the dog love, that trust issue that alot of them have a problem with, trust, that understanding, patience. just to see where they started and where they are at today, is just a tremendous progress.”
And although Curtis does admit it will be hard to let Roxie go, he’s happy to see Smith and Roxie’s bond. “We are standing over to the side and we notice Roxie has his head on his lap already," says Morrisson. "So the bonding that’s going on already is fantastic; you can see they’ve already bonded and it’s only been 35-40 minutes.”
And Smith is happy the dogs have impacted the inmates, as well. “Just hearing Curtis and the other folks here at the prison talk about the fact that it’s a second chance for them, it’s a second chance for the dog, and from what I hear it doesn’t only encourage them, but the rest of the compound.”
And Mike says now that he has a second chance in life, he’s happy he can give the same to Roxie.
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