OKLAHOMA CITY —
“I’m just glad (Sarge is) going where he’s going,” Miller said in the film. “It’s been an honor. I’m a veteran myself. … I’m going to miss that dog — big time.”
“(Sarge) is a dog that’s going to have a wonderful life,” said Kay Stout, Second Chance executive director.
Harley was a Yorkshire terrier who had been a shelter dog that later escaped from her adopted family. By the time she returned, they had adopted another dog. But shelter personnel knew Fairchild and the Friends for Folks program and thought it might be able to turn the dog around.
The dog was trained and became a companion dog for Billie Spector, widow of Robert Spector, M.D., the victim of a small plane crash in 2005 at Max Westheimer Airport in Norman.
John Otto Jr. said in “The Dogs of Lexington,” he was initially skeptical about whether the program would work because he learned from his former longtime FBI agent father, John Otto Sr., that inmate rehabilitation rarely works.
There are many human and dog heroes in the film. Greg Mellott, director of the Oklahoma City Community College film and video program, edited the film with footage shot by six OCCC students. Mellott said he became interested because of the people involved in every aspect of the Friends for Folks program and the Kirkpatrick Foundation.
“These people, they walk the walk and talk the talk,” Mellott said, mentioning John Otto Jr., Stout and Lee Fairchild, Oklahoma Department of Corrections case manager, Friends for Folks program director, and volunteer trainer of dogs and inmate trainers.
John Otto Jr. said more than 1,000 Second Chance and shelter dogs have been saved through the program. Inmates train the dogs from one to four months before they go to a family as an adoptable dog.