06 Sep Therapy Dogs on District Attorney Matt Ballard’s Team
In the News:
Meet Jerzy Girl and Sugar Bear who are registered Therapy Dogs assisting victims of crime and children going through domestic situations.
Born May 15, 2014 Jerzy is an Aussiedoodle; an Australian Shepherd/Poodle mix.
She is a welcome addition all around the Rogers and Mayes County Courthouses where her handler, Mindie Baab, works as a court reporter.
Jerzy is registered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, is a member of the group Karing K-9’s and has passed her American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Test.
Bear is the youngest member of District Attorney Ballard’s team.
Born in May of 2015 Bear was rescued with the help of Saving Whiskers and Tails in Pryor, OK after he and his siblings were dumped next to Highway 69. He is a Labrador/Great Dane mix and was malnourished and had bite marks from larger dogs.
His handler, Michelle Lowry, says she felt it was important to rescue an animal who might otherwise be euthanized and give him a second chance in a life where he can help others through difficult times.
Bear loves children and his temperament is perfect for supporting them through stressful times. He puts a smile on the face of every person he meets.
Bear has passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen test, is registered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, is a member of Karing K9s and is one of the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) winners of “150 Days of Rescued Pets” contest for his story of going from rescue to service to victims of crime.
Therapy dogs serve as both comfort and allies to victims of crime during the legal process. The
dogs attend meetings between victims, prosecutors, victim services staff and investigators with the quiet, unconditional, love only an animal can provide. By law therapy dogs can also accompany children to court to lend their special brand of support.
Prosecutors note these specially trained dogs can help victims remain calm when they must take the stand so they are able to give their testimony. It is widely known animals decrease human’s heart rates and blood pressure and can even have a healing effect.
Children going through the judicial system are in scary situations which feel completely out of their control. By handing them a therapy dog’s leash and teaching them a few simple commands the child has a sense of control along with a feeling of being protected and loved.