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Nov 10 - Dec 31, 2022

Canine Companions


Canine Companions provides children, adults and veterans with disabilities expertly trained service dogs so the individuals can live with greater independence. Canine Companions also provides professionals working in healthcare, criminal justice, and educational, etc. settings Facility Dogs to engage with clients in stressful settings. Since its founding in 1975, 7,108 Service and Facility Dogs along with follow-up services have been provided at no cost to individuals and organizations.

The Big Idea

Specially trained Courtroom Dogs to accompany anxious or traumatized individuals testifying in court allows for meaningful access to justice for all individuals and helps comfort victims and witnesses to ensure their voices are heard. Canine Companions courtroom dogs use 40+ skills and perform such tasks as resting his/her head in someone’s lap, playing fun games with children, snuggling closely at a victim's feet or allowing a witness to feel comforted by holding the leash in their lap while staying undetected by a jury.
The human/canine bond is deeply rooted and research has shown dogs play a role in facilitating trust and attachment and provide a number of emotional benefits over other animals and even humans. A Monterey County Gives gift of $10,000 will cover the cost of the two-week training course provided to the handler and their new Facility Dog for the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.

Facility Dog Namaste was matched with a handler at the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office in 2018, following Facility Dog Odie who joined in 2013. Namaste’s handler, Pam Patterson, who works in their Victim Services Unit, shares, “It’s difficult to win over the trust of children and teens in the criminal justice system. With Namaste by my side, the ice is broken; she is able to encourage that trust immediately. Often times, children sharing their stories share much more with Namaste there. We could never operate the way we do without a Canine Companions facility dog working with us. It really has changed our work in the most positive way. Namaste’s expertly-trained commands help her interact with victims in a way no other type of dog could.” Pam continues, “These dogs make such a huge difference in the lives of our victims. They change lives on a daily basis.”

- Pam Patterson