It’s no secret that therapy dogs can be brilliant for helping people of all ages who are suffering from stressful and difficult situations. There are therapy dogs for any problem out there, from hyperactive disorders to seizures. One particular type of therapy dog helps children feel safe when they are testifying in a courtroom. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that testifying can be a stressful event, especially for a child. That’s why a therapy dog is great for comforting them in these times. Karl, a therapy dog, changed a little girl’s life forever. This is their story.
A Court Dog
Adult matters are known to be incredibly frightening for children. This is especially the case when it comes to testifying in court. However, many children need to testify in court. One little girl had to take the stand when someone wronged her.
The little girl froze as soon as she saw the man that had wronged her. Nobody could blame her for being afraid, but her testimony was crucial, and everyone knew it. That’s when Karl, the court dog, came in to save the day.
Karl wasn’t just your average therapy dog. He was a five year old white boxer who weighs 65 pounds. He’s part of the Companions for Courage and is a K-9th circuit dog who is allowed to appear in court to provide support for children who are testifying.
The K-9th Circuit Program
The K-9th circuit program dogs are special and provide a sense of protection to children who are testifying in a courtroom. The US courts are now recognizing the need for trauma-sensitive measures, which is why therapy dogs are being used.
More About Karl
Although all therapy dogs are special, Karl works in a unique way because he is deaf. His deafness is his greatest asset. Due to this, he doesn’t react to any noises in the courtroom and can focus purely on those who he is comforting.
Calm and Collected
Due to Karl’s calm demeanor, he is very popular with the kids he works with. His size is also known to make these kids feel safe and protected. He also came dressed to the courtroom in some very silly outfits to put the children at ease.
Training Karl was seen as somewhat of a challenge because of his deafness. Karl’s trainer, Joanne, already trained three boxers before adopting Karl, but she had never taught a deaf dog before. He needed a different type of training because he couldn’t hear the commands.
Joanne was able to come up with a creative way that allowed Karl to follow commands. Karl was able to learn American Sign Language, and his orders were signed to him using this. He soon excelled in his work after being able to understand this.
Although Karl is a special-needs dog, he has overcome his fair share of difficulties and can now enjoy life as a therapy dog. He loves bringing joy to seniors, children, and anyone he comes into contact with. In addition to this, his disability is what makes him a great courtroom therapy dog.
He Gives a Helping Paw
The role of therapy dogs in the K-9th circuit is to help make these sad things easier to handle. They are there to give the children who are testifying the courage to say what needs to be said and make the process easier for them to do so.
The Little Girl’s Encounter
Some things should never happen to a little girl. The girl knew that the man who had wronged her was going to be in the courtroom, and she was very fearful of seeing him. That’s why Karl was there to help her feel safer.
There was one major problem that Karl faced when working. This was that most of the kids didn’t know sign language and were unable to communicate with him. Joanne understood this and came up with an idea to resolve the communication problem.
The Hand Signal
Karl became incredibly popular in the courtroom as a therapy dog after Joanne taught him one special hand signal. The children felt as though they had a secret code with Karl when they signaled this to him. He was able to save the day because of this on multiple occasions.
Therapy Dogs in Courtrooms
Using therapy dogs in courtrooms is very encouraged. This is especially the case for younger victims that are needing to testify. One girl was in serious need of a therapy dog when she turned to Joanne before entering the courtroom and asked something baffling.
A Difficult Case
The little girl’s case was a difficult one, and she was asking if Karl was going to protect her. She was very afraid of the world after encountering the man who wronged her. That’s why having Karl there was an important asset.
Karl sat with the little girl throughout all of the prep sessions and depositions. This gave the girl courage to speak up even though she was incredibly scary. Upon entering the courtroom, the girl froze, and she became too afraid to face the man.
The little girl quickly signed Karl, and he came over and sat by her, which brought some much-needed comfort and security. Karl was there to bring her comfort, and she was able to run her feet down his fur. This gave her the strength she needed.
A Support System
The little girl began testifying with Karl, who never left her side. Because of this, she was able to get through the entire trial without any problems. All of her prepping had paid off. However, no one was expecting what would happen after the trial.
A Huge Difference
Karl’s story of what he did during the trial spread like wildfire, and it reached millions of people all across the globe. Everyone seemed to adore what he had done for the little girl. This helped to spread awareness for the program that he was a part of.
Once the trial had finished up, Karl continued to provide support for children that needed to testify. However, he doesn’t just disappear from these children’s lives as soon as the trial is over. He continues to offer support even when they are outside of the courtroom.
Karl continues to travel through his life without knowing that he’s a hero to all of the children he comes across. He remains a therapy dog in courtrooms and is constantly making sure he is doing his job in the best way possible. His disability hasn’t stopped him from doing that.
Not Just a Job
Karl doesn’t treat these children as his patients that he needs to help. He treats the kids in the courtroom as friends. The little girl wasn’t just getting security from Karl. The therapy dog was also getting love and affection from her, which is what every dog wants.
All Therapy Dogs
All therapy dogs want is love and attention, which can be said for all pets. However, they are special because they are able to offer security and companionship to those who need it most. Here is Boomer helping out a friend at the Dependency Court.
Therapy dogs don’t just work with people who need to testify in court. They also work with judges. Judges work long and hard hours. Sometimes it’s nice to get a little cuddle from some friendly therapy dogs. Here is Judge Latimore with some happy therapy dogs.
Therapy dogs aren’t just working animals. They are also friends that most children need when going through a stressful time, like testifying in court. Here you can see one of the K-9’s therapy dogs, Dupont, being a friendly doggo at the Dependency Court.
The Morning Shift
Therapy dogs work around the clock to provide support to those in need. Some work the afternoon shift, while others work the morning one. However, they never miss out on the opportunity to bring some love and light to someone’s day.
Making a Real Difference
All of the therapy dogs in the community make a huge difference to those around them without knowing it. Here are Essie and Dupont, who are relaxing after a long day of spreading love and making a difference in their community.
The Perks of the Job
One of the best parts of the job is that the Companion for Courage team gets lots of love while on the job. All the children and seniors these therapy dogs work with aren’t shy when it comes to showering them with affection.
Worker of the Month
There can never be just one therapy dog of the month because they all are great at their jobs. Not that it matters anyway, they don’t care about anything like that. All these therapy dogs care about is making sure that those around them feel safe.
Courtrooms are a real waiting game, so being patient is a must. Here we have Karl, who knows this all too well. He has even taught himself how to sit on the bench and patiently wait for his friends to arrive.
The Complete Team
The program has been able to flourish over the years and now has many therapy dogs, which allows them to help even more people than before. Because of Karl’s work in the courtroom, more programs have been started, which help children all across the nation.
The little girl was able to succeed in her testimony. This caused the man who wronged her to get the conviction he deserved. He was locked up and is now unable to hurt the little girl or anyone else. This was all thanks to a deaf therapy dog named Karl.
Bella is a very sweet Doberman Pinscher who is loyal, calm, and loves attention. She is one of the dogs in the K-9th circuit program and helps provide security and reassurance to all of the kids who are testifying in a courtroom.
Boomer is another therapy dog that makes up the K-9th circuit program. He’s a Sheltie/Poodle mix and has been a therapy dog for several years before eventually joining the circuit program. He’s even working to assist adult education classes for those looking to qualify their dog for therapy work.
This little cutie is named Daisy-Mai and has been working as a therapy dog since 2011. She is a pedigree Pomeranian and forms part of the Pet Therapy team located in the Nemours Children’s Hospital and Arnold Palmer Hospital situated in Orlando.
Kenai is a rescued American Atika that had some tough times when he was a puppy. However, his life is much better, and he plays a role in making other people’s lives a lot easier. His favorite thing in the entire world is belly rubs.
Tilley’s full name is Matilda, which means ‘mighty in battle.’ Her name is very fitting as she was a puppy when she was found sick and abandoned. She was returned back to health and now is a hero to many of the people she comes into contact with.
Essie is a mixed breed who was born in 2012 and later rescued. Working as a therapy dog has allowed her to meet and love the people she works with. Her favorite thing to do is help her community through being part of Companions for Courage.
Josie was rescued back in 2008 and later became a therapy dog. She was trained and soon went into service to offer support to those who need it. Since her introduction, she was logged more than 2,000 hours of help to children, seniors, and anyone else she has come across.
Maverick was born in 2014 and is a Golden-Doodle who is certified as a therapy dog. He loves going around to everyone he meets in nursing homes and schools and shows off his fluffy fur. He tries to get as many hugs as possible.