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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.

Angelina Jordan blew everyone away with her version of 'Bohemian Rhapsody."


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Unique Vintage is making fashion more fun and inclusive, one killer look at a time

Unique Vintage blends classic designs with contemporary sensibilities, making vintage-inspired fashion for every body.

Everyone loves the timeless allure of vintage fashion. But let’s face it: vintage fashion doesn’t love everyone back. The golden eras of style we so admire were not exactly known for their diversity or size inclusivity, so the silhouettes and sizes of retro fashion leave a lot of people feeling left out. But are you ready for some good news? One LA-based brand called Unique Vintage has set about rewriting fashion history by recreating vintage styles to fit the modern world. With a commitment to diversity and inclusivity, this company is making sure that anyone can rock their favorite vintage looks. If you’re looking for a fashion brand that actually celebrates the things that make us unique, you need to keep reading.

What is Unique Vintage?

In the heart of LA, at the dawn of the new millennium, Katie Echeverry’s love of vintage fashion set her on a course to change the fashion industry forever. Fueled by her passion for the elegance of bygone eras and the thrill of thrift store treasure hunts, Katie opened her own online vintage store, Unique Vintage. However, what Katie noticed was that there were tons of people who loved vintage clothing who could never actually wear. And it was this gap in the vintage fashion market that led her to turn Unique Vintage from an online vintage store to a fullblown vintage-inspired fashion label. Today, Unique Vintage has blossomed into an iconic brand that transforms nostalgia for the past into the fashion statements of the present.

But Unique Vintage isn’t just revered for its style. This company is committed to making diversity and inclusivity the norm in fashion. Their goal is to create classic looks for every body, celebrating our individuality and making everyone feel fabulous. To that end, they partner with a variety of charitable organizations that support women’s rights, animal welfare, and LGBTQ+ communities.

Ready to take a look at what Unique Vintage has to offer? Then lets dive in.

The Western Collection

The bold Western Collection gives you the timeless allure of country and western fashion, updated for the modern world. This collection is a celebration of classic Western aesthetics, reimagined for today's fashion-forward individual. From bold print dresses that capture the vibrant essence of frontier towns, to metallic cowboy boots that look like a sunset over the Vegas strip, each piece is meticulously designed to make a statement.

The Western Collection is where nostalgia meets contemporary style, offering a range of sizes to ensure that everyone can find their perfect fit and embrace their adventurous spirit. Whether you're getting dressed up for a girls night out, or you just like to look amazing when you go to the grocery store, these pieces are designed to turn heads.

Unique Vintage x Barbie

Born in 2017, the Unique Vintage x Barbie collaboration reimagines Barbie’s iconic styles for today's diverse and fashion-forward audience. Unique Vintage has meticulously crafted a collection that transcends time, bringing the nostalgic charm of Barbie's wardrobe into the present day with pieces that celebrate every body type.

From chic pencil dresses to playful A-line skirts, each item in the collection is an homage Barbie’s classic style, updated to ensure that everyone can find their perfect fit and feel fabulous.By blending Barbie's classic appeal with Unique Vintage's inclusive sizing, this collaboration invites everyone to experience the joy of dressing like a true fashion icon.

The Prom Collection

If you’ve got a special occasion coming up and you want to make a statement, the Unique Vintage Prom Collection offers a wide array of styles that cater to every taste. From the timeless elegance of the 1950s, to the bold glamor of the 1980s, and everything in between, this collection proves that classic styles never truly go out of fashion.

Each dress in this collection is a masterpiece specifically designed to make you feel like a prom queen. If you love the intricate details of vintage dresses, but have a hard time finding ones that fit—or that you can actually afford—Unique Vintage can make your dreams come true.

Vintage Inspired Fashion For Every Body

Thanks to Unique Vintage, gone are the days of rummaging through thrift stores, only to face the disappointment of not finding the right size, style, or price. Now everybody can experience the joy and nostalgia of vintage fashion—without even leaving the house. Whether you're in love with the flapper dresses of the roaring '20s, the swing skirts of the '50s, or the bold prints of the '70s, Unique Vintage offers a meticulously curated collection that spans the decades. Shop by clothing category, or by your favorite era, and find the classic looks you want while supporting a company that champions diversity, body positivity, and ethical practices.

So, why wait? With Unique Vintage, every purchase contributes to a broader movement towards a more inclusive and conscious fashion industry. If you’ve always loved vintage fashion, but have never been able to make it work for you, go check out the growing Unique Vintage community on social media for some fashion inspiration. Then check out Unique Vintage online and start building the vintage-inspired wardrobe of your dreams.

via Tod Perry

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