CUDDLY CANINES BRING CALM TO COURT IN LISMORE
Therapy dogs have ‘repawted’ for duty at Lismore Courthouse as part of a program to reduce anxiety for vulnerable people, Member for Lismore Thomas George and Nationals Candidate for Lismore Austin Curtin announced today.
Mr George said Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has finished training a number of lovable Labradors who will attend court on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to comfort anyone doing it tough.
“The six dogs Fergus, Frankie, Humphrey, Indi, Sassy and Sebastian have been specially selected for the Canine Court Companion program because of their gentle nature and ability to happily interact with strangers.
“Any court user who is feeling anxious or distressed can approach the dog handler and request some time with the animal in the foyers, waiting rooms and safe rooms,” Mr George said.
Mr Curtin said the program is being expanded to Lismore following a successful trial of therapy dogs at Manly Courthouse.
“The pilot program received unanimous support with victims of crime, court staff, stakeholders and police among those who said they felt more relaxed after patting and chatting to the dogs,” Mr Curtin said.
In addition to Manly and Lismore, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Labradors are also patrolling courts in Burwood, Campbelltown, Gosford and Sutherland, with additional regional sites to come over the next five months.
“Lismore Courthouse is a busy and often stressful environment and the sight of floppy ears and wagging tails will be a welcome distraction for court users with a lot on their minds,” Mr Curtin said.
“As a dog-lover myself, I know just how much having a furry friend around can lift a person’s mood. This is a great win for our busy regional courthouse.”
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is best known for providing Guide Dogs and other mobility aids to people with sight loss, but has been operating an expanding Pets As Therapy program for over 30 years.
PHOTO: Samantha O’Keefe – Guide Dogs NSW, Thomas George – Member for Lismore, Austin Curtin – Nationals candidate of Lismore, launch the Canine Companion Trial at Lismore Courthouse