Since September 2018, the Ottawa Courthouse has brought in accredited therapy dogs to interact with accused persons, their families, witnesses, counsel, courthouse staff, social workers, officers: everyone and anyone who wants to get the well-documented stress reducing benefits of doggy affection. The project began as a twice monthly pilot during Mental Health Court Clinic days and has been so well received that it’s expanded to include twice a week visits to Mental Health Court, and monthly visits to Drug Treatment Court and Youth Mental Health Court.
The presentation will offer strategies in dealing with building management, finding a community partner, setting up a program, evaluating success, and focus on the benefits of inclusion, as our project dogs provide support to everyone at the courthouse. Our program, which had no cost to set up, has not only brought happiness, it has support from all stakeholders in the Ottawa Courthouse.
Presenter: Carol-Lynne Saad, Constable Maya Spitz