Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Karl the Courthouse Dog

I came across this story over the weekend and was crying reading about Karl. This is such a phenomenal idea and the part about the little girl on the witness stand rubbing Karl's fur with her toes made me sob out loud. Seriously the sweetest and most touching thing I've read in, I can't remember how long.

The K-9th Circuit Program in Orange County pairs children with therapy dogs to help them become more comfortable with the process of testifying in court. The dogs stay with the child through depositions and other questionings and all the way through to the trial, if necessary, and sometimes even after.

These children are in a difficult situation. Sometimes they’ve been abused or neglected. Sometimes they’ve witnessed abuse or neglect — or worse. It can be scary for these children to open up, especially to strange adults. That’s why dogs like Karl are important.

One child had to go through two depositions and a trial, and Karl stayed with her the whole time – without doing much at all.“It was a lot of hours on the witness stand, and Karl slept through the whole thing, which was really wonderful,” Hart-Rittenhouse said. “He did his job. Because she couldn’t really reach down to pet him, she kicked her shoes off and ran her toes through his fur and knew that he was there if she needed him. He accompanied her into the witness stand, which gives a child confidence.”

Karl is not just a courthouse therapy dog, though. He also visits a nearby hospice center, reads with children, and even has his own coloring book, in which he teaches children the proper ways to approach and care for dogs and other animals.

(photos and story kidnapped from dogster)

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