Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Now Providing Therapy Dogs in NSW Courthouses
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is excited to be working with the NSW Government on the new Canine Court Companion Program, with our Therapy Dogs set to provide therapy services to court users across NSW.
Initially the program will roll out to ten courts in Sydney and Regional NSW, beginning with Manly Courthouse. Other locations include Gosford, Sutherland, Burwood and Campbelltown; and Regional locations of Lismore, Taree, Goulburn, Nowra and Orange.
Photo shows: Therapy Dogs Cupid and Ollie walking with Handlers into Manly Courthouse
What is the Canine Court Companion Program?
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT’s Pets As Therapy (PAT) program has been in action for more than 30 years and is an expanding service. The Canine Court Companion Program is an exciting new way that our Therapy Dogs can make a difference and provide companionship and emotional support in the community.
Therapy Dogs will be patrolling the courthouses, looking to spend time with anyone who may be anxious and in need of comfort. Through this, we hope to make a person’s visit to a court less stressful and take the court user’s mind off things that they might be struggling with.
“We know that the presence of a dog can help calm people and lower anxiety, and it’s wonderful to see our dogs are already doing this at Manly Courthouse. I’m looking forward to seeing our dogs soon bring comfort and companionship to court users at other courts throughout NSW,”
- Dale Cleaver, CEO Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.
Photo shows: Therapy Dog Ollie sitting outside Manly Courthouse
What is the difference between a Therapy Dog and a Guide Dog?
Therapy Dogs and Guide Dogs have different roles in how they assist the community.
A working Guide Dog wears an easily recognisable harness. Guide Dogs in harness are on duty whether they are physically guiding a person with vision impairment, or sitting at their feet. You should never pat or distract a working Guide Dog in harness.
However, a Therapy Dog is there to engage with people and respond to their needs. Therapy Dogs provide companionship and comfort - and they are happy to be patted!
“Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is busy training dozens of Labradors who will be the stars of the Canine Court Companion Program at Burwood, Campbelltown, Gosford, Goulburn, Lismore, Manly, Nowra, Orange, Sutherland and Taree,”
Mark Speakman, NSW, Attorney General
Photo shows: Therapy Dog Cupid outside Manly Courthouse - Canine Court Companion Guide Dogs NSW ACT