About 20 minutes from home, Cindy and one of her three daughters met a giant puppy, a golden retriever she’d name Miles. Little did she know this dog would bring her closer to her daughters. Little did she know that her dog would support her through her sickness. And little did she know just how involved Miles would be with her work.
Cindy is a manager at Shasta County Superior Court. As a mediator, she often helps children testify in the courtroom. A while ago, she was sent an article from a volunteer in another courtroom in Boise, Idaho that had taken a support dog into work to help out. She quickly put a request in to allow a dog, whichever, to support victims and witnesses in her own courtroom.
They approved her request. Soon after, Miles became a regular in the courtroom. He taught her better than she could train him how he would support the victims. Having a dog in the courtroom seemed to have an immediate impact on children. A stoic dog, calm as a rug, Miles served as a golden example of bravery.
One of the first interviews she had with Miles was in support of a young girl that was known to be particularly wound up. Cindy gave the girl Miles’ leash, and she held on tight. During a 40 minute interview, she conversed and divulged all of the information needed to help her. Considering the scope of her hyperactiveness, this was one of the first examples that led to many, many more interviews supported by the ninety pound golden retriever. Often, these young victims were testifying in the same room as their perpetrators, finding Miles next to them, a pillar of support.
Cindy could tell countless stories of how Miles has helped children share things they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. She was brought to tears when she shared the time a young girl was in her office and Miles calmly approached, and he sat on her feet. She wasn’t speaking about what had happened to her. Within five minutes she’d curled up on the floor with Miles. Soon, she started sharing with Miles her experience which she wasn’t been able to properly express until that point.
The gift of a dog is visible in its unconditional expression of love, its willingness and desire to listen, its unquantifiable connection to us. Miles’ gift went one step further. An indescribable connection with the children in this courthouse, there to share what is likely their most difficult experience. Inexplicably, Miles acts as a channel for vulnerability, a safety-net that these children naturally rest their worries upon.
If you liked this story, consider donating to the Woods Humane Society in San Luis Obispo, or donate or spend some time helping out at a local rescue you prefer.
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