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Working Like Dogs on Pet Life RadioMarcie Davis, host of Working Like Dogs

Marcie Davis
Assistance Dog Expert
Award-winning Writer

Courthouse Dogs: Providing Comfort and Building Trust

Linda Milanesi on Pet Life Radio......... Carrie-Leigh Cloutier on Pet Life Radio

Linda Milanesi....................... ..Carrie-Leigh Cloutier.


Did you know that professionally trained canines who are graduates from some of the most prestigious, accredited service dog organizations are working as courthouse dogs?   Listen in as Marcie and Whistle visit with Linda Milanesi, Executive Director of Assistance Dogs of the West and Carrie-Leigh Cloutier, Executive Director of CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates about the work they are doing with some incredible courthouse dogs. You’ll be amazed by the training methods they utilize to prepare these awe-inspiring dogs for their sensitive work in our nation’s criminal justice system! 

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Courthouse Dogs on Pet Life Radio

Assistance Dogs of the West

Assistance Dogs of the West provides trained service dogs to people with disabilities in order to increase self-reliance and independence.  We teach students to train dogs to help people.

Since 1995, ADW has taught elementary, middle and high school students, juvenile detention center students and developmentally and physically disabled students to train assistance dogs. All student trainers learn from professional ADW instructor/trainers through structured classes, using a continually improving curriculum, and emerge from the program with increased leadership skills, compassion and self-esteem. Assistance Dogs of the West uses the Assistance Dog Student Trainer Program to enhance the lives and opportunities for mainstream and at-risk students in New Mexico, to train our dogs most effectively and to keep our costs low.

ADW service dogs learn a minimum of 90 commands and successful graduates are placed with clients to help overcome physical mobility and emotional challenges caused by disease, trauma or environment. Seizure dogs alert and respond to the needs of clients with seizure disorders, and mental health assistance dogs  and social therapy dogs work with individuals or groups offering avenues for increased socialization to lives with challenges. ADW client/recipients have diverse ethnic backgrounds, financial means and ages, from 5 to 95.

The average national waiting period for clients to receive assistance dogs is five years. The ADW waiting period is 6 to 24 months, depending upon dog availability and a successful and appropriate capability match between client and dog. The ADW training program costs $15,000 per dog, while the national average is $25,000 (40% higher).  ADW has over 30 dogs in training annually.  Clients contribute a fee ($6,125 in-state/$7,625 out-of-state**), which underwrites the Client Placement Process.  Fundraising support and payment plans are available.

Courthouse Dogs

The mission of Courthouse Dogs Foundation is to promote justice with compassion through the use of professionally trained facility dogs to provide emotional support to everyone in the justice system. We envision a world where there is a dog in every courthouse providing emotional support to everyone in need during stressful legal proceedings.


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