Maine Courthouse’s First Comfort Dog for Children with Trauma: Puppy

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Holiday is a pup-in-training working towards her very important role as official Courthouse Facility Dog in Maine’s Aroostook County.  

Children and adults with traumatic past experiences will find comfort in the yellow Labrador Retriever. Authorities hope the puppy will help them feel more at ease in a courtroom setting.

The 14-week-old pup started her training with Tyler Jones, owner of  Purpose Pups in Houlton. Jones explained that the two-year program is a commitment. The Bangor Daily News reported.

“The amount of precision training that she needs to receive is intensive,” Jones said.

Dog training will take approximately 208 hours. “Only 30% of those dogs trained actually make it,”He said. 

“Service dog work depends on introduction, repetition and consistency. Not every dog can be a service dog,”He said. 

Holiday has been a great start.

Holiday will get to work alongside Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins in Presque Isle, who is also her dad and owner.

“Courthouse facility dogs can provide a sense of normalcy during juvenile and family court proceedings, and can accompany vulnerable crime victims, including children, rape victims, developmentally delayed adults, and the elderly during investigations and court proceedings,” Collins said. 

He said: “They can also provide emotional comfort to family members during the trial and sentencing of the offender.”

His goal is to see Aroostook County become the first Maine district to train courthouse dogs to comfort victims and children of violent crime during the legal process.

Jones is also teaching Collins the commands Holiday is being taught so he will be able to take over once Holiday’s training is complete.