Courtrooms Gone to the Dogs

Ever find yourself in a situation so tough and so heart-breaking that you aren’t sure you’ll be able to go through with it? That’s what this girl experienced, but thanks to a furry canine friend, she stayed strong.

While some lawyers feel that a dog in the courtroom will make the jury sympathetic to the victim, I think it’s the victim that should be the point of focus here. Kids find comfort, bravery and love in a tail wag and having a dog at their feet to remind them that no matter what happens, they are loved, is incredibly important. I hope that more dogs are able to do what Dori does.

Dori is a mixed mutt with one incredible job. If she can do it, what’s stopping other pups from being taught these same things? Yet another reason to rescue animals – the amount of unconditional love and support they give is essential to the lives of so many people. The team in charge of training Dori and many dogs like her is Paws’itive Teams, an organization based in San Diego that “provides service dogs for persons with disabilities, enabling these persons to live more independent lives and to achieve an enhanced quality of life.” As their website points out: “Therapy dogs come in all sizes, shapes, breeds, ages, gender.”

Our own pup, Spunky (the mascot you see at the top of our site), is a pound puppy. Ash rescued him from an animal shelter in Ashland, WI at around seven months, and he’s now a beautiful, friendly, happy 5.5 year old dog. In late 2008, the three of us participated in the AKC’s Canine Good Citizenship Program, and Spunky passed with flying colors. Another (human) participant in the program met Spunky and loved him and asked us if we were interested in training him as a therapy dog. It turns out that this women was head of a local therapy dog group called Paws 4 Love and after she and the rest of the group met Spunky, they fell in love with him and couldn’t wait to get him started. Unfortunately, shortly into our involvement with the organization began, we moved, and our current location doesn’t have the same opportunities we had up north. Of course, as soon as we get to Austin in a month or two, we will be finding any way we can to continue Spunky’s therapy dog training.

As both cases prove, mutts and rescue animals can do the same loving work as any purebred. Who knows how many amazing dogs with the perfect personalities and dispositions to become therapy dogs were left in shelters until it was too late – simply because it doesn’t occur to people that shelters dogs are just as great, and in many cases, even better than the alternative. Not only are you saving one life, but maybe you’re saving many more.

Think about it. Every animal deserves that chance.

Video courtesy of a link from Francesca Rogier. Please read the Free Brindi article on this blog to learn more about what you can do to help Francesca in her own current predicament.

Edit: If you liked reading Dory’s story, you might be interested in this article: “Pet Talk: Therapy Dog Helps Funeral Home’s Grieving” from the USA Today. Thanks to @Fun4Fido for this link.

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