Dogs are considered man’s best friend. It’s one of the only creatures on the planet that will offer you unconditional love and loyalty without expecting a lot from you. Your canine friend can brighten your day and make you happy. According to a finding, physical contact between dogs and humans can be mutually beneficial for both species. There’s no comparison to the therapeutic relief we get when these fur balls are around us. But did you know that dogs can also keep human beings calm in professional settings, particularly legal proceedings? Regardless of their breed, every dog that provides this form of therapy requires training.They provide a significant amount of therapeutic effect to people suffering mental disorders like post traumatic stress disorder, autism, bipolar disorder, etc. For instance, some pooches can be trained to recognize when blood sugar levels are low in a diabetic person or trained to alert an epileptic human of seizures in advance. Famous Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher is bipolar. So she takes her dog Gary with her wherever she goes to help her calm down during manic episodes or depression.
Karl is one of many canines that are a part of this program founded by Judge Turner. The dogs are required to be well groomed, obedient, sociable and affectionate. During stressful situations in and around the courtroom, Karl swoops in and provides special support under conditions nobody else can. ‘Companions for Courage’ is a non-profit organization that focuses on creating a more secure environment for vulnerable children and adults during hearings or court proceedings.
Karl and his friends are the silent heroes in the courtroom. With the presence of a fluffy bundle of joy, a horrifying courtroom is no longer a daunting place, and it makes recollection of facts better and therefore, accurate information is provided. Karl, with his trademark floppy hat, makes even the saddest of people smile. This boxer dog never leaves home without his hat.
Children have experienced abuse, neglect, beatings, etc. and the presence of these dogs makes them feel protected and loved. A witness once asked Joanne Hart-Rittenhouse, Karl’s trainer, whether Karl would protect her from her abuser if she is attacked in court. “I doubt very much if he would do anything. But, if that’s what made the child feel better, then absolutely: he’s going to protect you,” stated Joanne.
“Companions for Courage” dogs stay in the life of an individual until they no longer need help. They exchange smiles and have a great time as they wait their turn in court. Even when it’s all over, people often revisit these dogs that helped them through those tough situations.
It is natural for humans to yell, shout and scream during a trial. However, Karl doesn’t react to any of these because he is deaf. Being unable to hear in this line of work is a huge blessing in disguise. Nevertheless, this adorable canine understands 90 words of the American Sign Language. Hats off to these people for doing such a noble job training dogs like Karl.