Dogs in the Courthouse? What next?

My mom came across this website about dogs who work in the justice system: http://www.courthousedogs.com

Here’s a quote:
“The use of courthouse dogs can help bring about a major change in how we meet the emotional needs of all involved in the criminal justice system. The dog’s calming presence creates a more humane and efficient system that enables judges, lawyers, and staff to accomplish their work in a more positive and constructive manner.”

My mom is rather cynical about the justice system, to say the least, so she snorted at the words “humane and efficient.” As a dog, I’d say we’d have fewer people in prison if society broadened the application of dog training. The idea with dogs is “correction,” not “punishment.” Good trainers stop us before we get a chance to do something we’re not supposed to do. We get rewarded and encouraged.

Of course, stubborn dogs like me are always testing the limits. But I’m never destructive unless the perfect sock crosses my path. And I’m never, ever mean.

After all, I’m always treated with respect, although we have some issues about rushing through a walk in ten minutes when my mom gets behind schedule. I eat high quality food. I have a nice home, good medical and dental care, and a comfortable bed. I am never allowed to hang out with dogs or people who would be a bad influence; my mom regulates treats and won’t let me jump up to greet people, even when they say, “Oh that’s so cute…”

Treat humans this way and prisons would be empty. Then we could use the money to spoil even more dogs.

Since we’re not there yet, we are glad to see dogs in court rooms where they calm everybody down. The courthousedog.com site recommends assistance dogs, rather than therapy dogs. Apparently assistance dogs are good around children, wheelchairs and other impediments.

My mom would like to put me to work. She’s looked into the visiting dogs program, where we could go into hospitals and nursing homes. Unfortunately, she says, I won’t qualify. I’m terrified of shiny floors and when I meet another dog, my reactions are not predictable. Very sad, she says, as I’d be perfect for this kind of work.

I’ve already got a full-time job, as we pointed out recently. So i’d just as soon get extra nap time.

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