The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Canine comforter

 

October 13, 2019

Courtesy photo

Judith Glikas said Darwin will "provide comfort and calm to victims" in local courtrooms.

CLOVIS - It's not a job for any dog.

The 9th Judicial District already knows that, having tried once to bring a canine assistant into its courts.

Kasey, a white retriever, lives now with a prosecutor in the district, but before that he was intended to assist in a therapeutic capacity for individuals testifying or giving safe house interviews. Kasey turned out to be more excitable than the sober-minded conditions of the court would require of him.

Darwin will instead be that dog, this time coming from the program Assistance Dogs of the Southwest out of Santa Fe.

"We tried to train (Kasey) ourselves, and he wasn't the right type of personality," said Judith Glikas, a paralegal and dog-lover in the district who will be Darwin's keeper and handler. "These dogs (from Santa Fe) are trained every day with professionals."

A black lab, Darwin visited for the first time on Thursday, and will be back for good beginning Oct. 28, with a period of a few months to become acclimated to his new residence.

"These courthouse dogs are bred specifically for their calm demeanor and emotional support, so they just provide comfort and calm to victims and they give them the courage they need to go into court and testify," Glikas said.

This will be the first such courthouse dog in the district, according to its chief prosecutor Andrea Reeb.

"Right now I know there's four dogs in the 5th, and Alamogordo got their dog, and Woodstock is in Albuquerque," she told The News. "It's becoming pretty standard."

Those present for the week-long sentencing phase early this year for the convicted Clovis library shooter got to meet Beaumont, one of the dogs from the 5th Judicial District out of Roswell.

"It really does change the whole mood of the courtroom when they're in there, and it's amazing how they go to the victims that are stressed the most," Glikas said. "It's amazing, we're excited to see that, to help our victims."

Darwin comes at a cost of $10,000, all training included. Outside of work, he'll keep quarters with Glikas' 9-year-old dachshund.

 
 

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