Puppy Becomes Maine Courthouse's 1st Comfort Dog for Children Who Survived Trauma

Holiday, pictured with Aroostook County District Attorney and Dad, Tom Collins

Holiday will be providing comfort to children and adults who have endured traumatic experiences.

Holiday is a pup-in-training working towards her very important role as official Courthouse Facility Dog in Maine’s Aroostook County.  

The yellow Labrador Retriever will be providing comfort to children and adults who have endured traumatic experiences. Authorities hope the puppy will help them feel more at ease in a courtroom setting.

The 14-week-old pup started her training with Tyler Jones, owner of  Purpose Pups in Houlton. The program is a two-year commitment, Jones explained, the Bangor Daily News reported.

“The amount of precision training that she needs to receive is intensive,” Jones said.

The dog will train for about 208 hours. "Only 30% of those dogs trained actually make it," he said. 

“Service dog work depends on introduction, repetition and consistency. Not every dog can be a service dog,” he said. 

So far, Holiday is off to a good start.

Holiday will get to work alongside Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins in Presque Isle, who is also her dad and owner.

“Courthouse facility dogs can provide a sense of normalcy during juvenile and family court proceedings, and can accompany vulnerable crime victims, including children, rape victims, developmentally delayed adults, and the elderly during investigations and court proceedings,” Collins said. 

He added: “They can also provide emotional comfort to family members during the trial and sentencing of the offender.”

His goal is for Aroostook County to become the first district in Maine to recruit courthouse dogs to comfort children and victims of violent crimes during the legal process.

Jones is also teaching Collins the commands Holiday is being taught so he will be able to take over once Holiday’s training is complete.

Related Stories