+
upworthy
Joy

This cute yellow lab will be Maine's first official courthouse therapy dog

This cute yellow lab will be Maine's first official courthouse therapy dog

Holiday will serve as a source of comfort for victims of trauma in the courtroom.

When people enter the court system, as a plaintiff or a defendant or a witness, there is often a lot of stress involved. The process of going through the justice system itself is stressful, but the circumstances that bring people to court are often marked by tragedy or trauma of some sort as well. There is a clear need for mental and emotional support, especially for kids, in the courtroom.

Thankfully, society has figured out that animals can be a helpful source of stress relief and comfort and the idea of animals in spaces like a courtroom is being embraced more and more.

Though another county has an unofficial support dog, Aroostook County will be the first county in Maine to have an official therapy dog onsite at the courthouse, according to Bangor Daily News. That dog is a yellow Labrador retriever puppy named Holiday, who is currently in training to work with people who have been through traumatic experiences.


Holiday was donated by local breeder Karley Allen, who told the Daily News that part of her mission is to donate puppies for therapy and service work. "I believe wholeheartedly in the power of a dog," she said. “They are truly heart healers that give endless love and can give so much back to our communities when placed in these roles.”

It will take two years—208 hours of training—for Holiday to learn all she needs to know for her important job, including learning to be still and silent in the courtroom, walking and sitting on command and staying seated in one spot for an extended period of time. She'll also be trained to go with the district attorney on investigations to help people who have been hurt or traumatized.

Holiday actually lives with Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins, and both he and Holiday are being trained so that she will be able to follow his commands.

Collins told Bangor Daily News that his goal is to help survivors and witnesses who are reliving traumatic events in the courtroom relieve some of the stress and psychological damage they may experience.

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

“A courthouse dog can provide emotional support for everyone,” he said.

The use of courthouse facility dogs like Holiday has increased greatly in recent years. Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton of Kitsap County, Washington, told PEW that the yellow lab that has been deployed in her courtroom numerous times has helped child witnesses who have been abused have an easier time testifying.

“Sometimes they need the leash in their hand. Sometimes they need the dog touching their feet. Sometimes they just need to see the dog,” she said.

Some concerns have been raised that having a dog with a child on a witness stand may sway a jury by making a child appear more sympathetic or more credible. But Dalton says she's seen how the dogs can actually help witnesses stay calm, which can create a less intense emotional situation for both the children who take the stand and the jurors.

“I’ve seen jurors visibly impacted by kids so stressed on the witness stand that they start crying or shut down. Jurors look like they want to leap over the jury box and cuddle that kid,” Dalton said. “So having the dog there helps everybody on both sides.”

Collins also pointed out that it's not just witnesses, plaintiffs or defendants who experience trauma in the criminal justice system. First responders, people who work with victims, detectives who are exposed to violent scenes or images and others whose work puts them in close, constant contact with human trauma also need emotional support. Having an animal trained for such purposes around can truly benefit everyone.

Watch trainer Tyler Jones working with Holiday as she starts her training. Such a good girl.

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less

Kellogg's CEO tells people to eat cereal to save money

It doesn't matter if you're a single adult or married with children, there's nothing quite like having cereal for dinner or a late night snack once in a while.

Something about it feels nostalgic but it's also really easy to fall back on when you're too exhausted to cook a full meal. There's nothing wrong with grabbing a bowl of cereal for a meal outside of breakfast. You're feeding yourself or your family a food that contains some of the vitamins a body needs.

Maybe that's the thought process Kellogg's CEO Gary Pilnick was going with when he unintentionally sparked some serious backlash. Pilnick was interviewed by CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" discussing the cereal giant's new commercial featuring Tony the Tiger. The commercial itself isn't really the problem. It features a mom holding a box of cereal with kids excitedly awaiting their cereal for dinner chanting along with Tony the Tiger's call to eat the sweet meal.

The backlash came followeing Pilnick's comments about why his company felt the need to create a commercial advocating families eating cereal for diner.

Keep ReadingShow less


We all know that Americans pay more for healthcare than every other country in the world. But how much more?

According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Monica Lewinsky reclaims the office power suit in new voting campaign

The activist teamed with apparel brand Reformation to combat voter frustration in a fabulous way.

Lewinsky partnered with Reformation for their "You've Got The Power" voting campaign

Monica Lewinsky knows a thing or two about reinvention.

The former White House intern became the source of media obsession after her affair with former President Bill Clinton become public. It solidified her place in history against her will, but through her actions since, Lewinsky has transformed her public persona into a feminist icon and champion of a powerful anti-bullying campaign.

Now, the 50-year-old Lewinsky is lending her household name to sustainable fashion brand Reformation and Vote.org in hopes to encourage people to vote this year.
Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Don't worry, Wendy's isn't raising prices during the busiest times. But changes are coming.

People were very upset after hearing that surge pricing may come to the local drive-thru.

A combo meal from Wendy's.

In a world where prices are continuously increasing, prominent companies are turning to surge pricing to raise prices even further during peak demand times. Uber charges people more for a ride when demand is high. Hotels have been changing prices based on demand for years and Amazon uses AI to keep prices constantly in flux.

Recently, Ticketmaster, known for charging high fees, has been charging customers even more for tickets as demand rises.

On Monday, February 26, news reports began circulating that Wendy’s, America's 5th most popular fast-food chain, would implement dynamic pricing at its restaurants. Many assumed that meant a Dave’s Double burger would cost an extra $3 during dinner time or medium fries would cost an extra buck during the lunch rush.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

What is in its 'golden age' but not enough people know about it?

There's so much good out there if you know where to look.

Canva

From astronomy to knitting, some fields of human endeavor are having a heyday.

When you peruse the news headlines or dive into discussions on current events on social media, it's pretty easy to feel despondent. Doom and gloom sells, unfortunately, and our natural negativity bias that's meant to protect us can be overworked by a 24/7 bombardment of humanity's challenges.

There is an anecdote to all of that, though: Curating and cultivating the good. Sometimes it's just knowing where to look to find examples of problems being solved, discoveries being made, innovation taking huge leaps and other evidence that humans are moving our collective life forward in incredible ways.

Someone on Reddit asked, "What is currently in its 'Golden age,' but not enough people know about it?" and thousands of people responded. Reading through the answers is an enlightening and uplifting glimpse of things we might not personally be involved with but are happy to see having a heyday. Like, who wouldn't like to know that we're in a golden age of astronomy and paleontology. Space and dinosaurs? It's like realizing our 5-year-old selves' ideal future.

Keep ReadingShow less