They say every dog has its day – but what about dogs having a dog day in court? It’s not a completely barking idea, according to NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman, who announced the rollout of a new Canine Court Companion Program in July.
“Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is busy training dozens of Labradors who will be the stars of the Canine Court Companion Program at Burwood, Campbelltown, Gosford, Goulburn, Lismore, Manly, Nowra, Orange, Sutherland and Taree,” Speakman said. “The fab Labs will patrol the courthouses, looking to help anyone who’s stressed and in need of fur therapy.” Speakman said the program would be delivered by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and rolled out to 10 courts across NSW, following a successful pilot program at Manly Courthouse run by Delta Society dogs. The Manly program received unanimous support as anxious victims and witnesses reported feeling more relaxed and ready to give evidence after a cuddle with the happy hounds.
“We know that the presence of a dog can help calm people and lower anxiety, and it’s wonderful to see our dogs are already doing this at Manly Courthouse,” said CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Dale Cleaver. “I’m looking forward to seeing our dogs soon bring comfort and companionship to court users at other courts throughout NSW.”
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has more than 60 years’ experience as the leading provider of guide dogs orientation and mobility services, and has been named Australia’s most trusted charity brand in the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey for six consecutive years