First dedicated courthouse therapy dog in Maine

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:57 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - “I am training the very first service dog ever in Maine’s history,” Jones said.

Her name is Holiday and she is a yellow lab being trained to provide comfort during court proceedings to children and and other abuse and trauma victims.

“Her job is to remain in the downstate and allow the children to be able to pet her and feel that comfort,” Jones said.

Tyler Jones is the owner of Purpose Pups which he started 2 years ago. Within that time, he says he has trained 1800 dogs but only 30 percent of service dogs make it.

”We are setting the gold standard for what service dogs can do and kind of blazing the trail for Maine because we are the last state really to allow court house dogs,” Jones said.

Jones says he has training sessions twice a week with Holiday and handler, Todd Collins who is the District Attorney for Aroostook County.

”It is important that I separate myself as a trainer because she needs to work as well as she does for me for him,” he said.

When training is not in session for the pup who has already completed a year out of the scheduled two, Jones says she is a goof ball.

”She absolutely loves people, she loves to play, she plays with my service dog justice,” Jones said

But when the vest is on, she means business.

”It is from 8 in the morning till 5 at night just like we work regular 9 to 5 jobs, when she has that vest on, she is at work,” he said.

Jones says he is looking to open a Purpose Pups location in Bangor.

”We are working with investors to be able to do that,” Jones said.

In the meantime, he says he hopes other courts in Maine follow suit.

”I think it is important that these children and these domestic violence victims are able to have something that they can trust, something that can give them unconditional love and be able to restore their faith in humanity and society in general,” he said.