Dr. John Otto, DVM, shares information about the Friends for Folks rescue dog training program at Lexington Correctional Complex, the first of its kind in the nation. 
Click on the recap title above to see more photos and a summary of our last meeting!
Our Feb 18 meeting started with Linda Holt filling in as our pianist for "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'." Thank you Linda!  
Then Katie Kimberling led us in our morning calisthenics with "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." Jennifer Willis Beckett presented a club banner from her and Lewis' recent trip to Hawaii. 
Grover Osmun presented perfect attendance pins to Bob Dill (15 years), David Imy (absent but making up we're sure!), Jennifer Warren (16 years), Glenda Thomas (20 years), and Bob Usry (30 years the longest in out club's 33-year history!). 
Jim Costello introduced our guest speaker Dr. John Otto, DVM who opened the University Animal Hospital in Norman in 1995.
Dr. Otto shared information about the Friends for Folks rescue dog training program at Lexington Correctional Complex, which began in 1990 and was the first of its kind in the nation. He volunteers with the program which matches offenders with rescue dogs for a multi-week training. Its success, documented in an Emmy-nominated film Dr. Otto helped create called “The Dogs of Lexington,” convinced the Department of Corrections to open a second program called Guardian Angels in January 2014 at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center for women. A second film Dr. Otto helped make is “Bassett Tales,” which premiered on OETA in 2015.
Otto grew up the son of an FBI director and recognized the emotional strain put on kids with a parent or parents incarcerated from an early age. He saw families torn apart and suffering, which led him to work with his son to write two books about the dogs, hope and love. He also created a teleplay to be introduced to Oklahoma K-12 students in the near future pending receipt of grant funding for the program.

Books are for sale for $20 each at Full Circle Bookstore and at the University Animal Hospital. $5 of each book sale goes to the Friends for Folks program.

The "mirror" programs benefit the inmates who train the dogs and the dogs. Some offenders are able to adopt their dogs after they leave prison. Anyone interested in adopting one of the dogs can contact Dr. Otto at the University Animal Hospital. Otto said in his 23 years with the programs, he is not aware of one participating inmate who has returned to prison.

Thank you Dr. Otto for championing these programs and finding a way to try to break the family cycle of incarceration. You, your family and your fellow program coworkers truly embody the Rotary motto of #ServiceAboveSelf.