Service Dog Dropout Finds New Career Path in District Attorney’s Off

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Not every dog is up for the challenge that comes with being a service dog. But when one doggy door closes, another opens with an opportunity to really strut their stuff.

Jake the Labrador Retriever is a sweet soul. He was being trained as a service dog, but turns out he wasn’t the right dog for the job.

Well, that job at least.

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Jake has a curious mind, a tender heart and tender paws. Great as these traits are, unfortunately, they weren’t best suited for service dog work.

Today my tail got stepped on in court. I cried a little and got a whole lot of attention. The judge encouraged me to…

Posted by Jake – The DA Dog on Monday, September 18, 2017

But that doesn’t stop him from helping his beloved humans, as while he isn’t able to be an officially trained service or rescue dog, he uses his loving heart and fur-filled emotions as an emotional support dog in the Anderson County District Attorney General’s Office in Clinton, Tennessee.

Jake is Jake the DA Dog there, and he offers support to domestic abuse victims in the system. Rhoni Standefer is the DA’s domestic violence victim/witness coordinator and she says that Jake just loves people and picks up on their emotions instantly. Standefer says that if he sees someone upset or needing a little bit of love, he just goes right on over to them.

This is my office. I let Rhoni share it with me, but no one comes to see her. They all come by to see me, though! …

Posted by Jake – The DA Dog on Friday, August 11, 2017

Standefer also has the privilege of calling such a hardworking lovebug her own, and his job began one day simply because she brought him into work with her to give him some socialization. Immediately, it was if he knew who needed the most love and support, and Standefer said that she was able to coordinate with the DA’s office to have him be an official staff member. Standefer says that he is phenomenal when it comes to figuring out who needs what support, which is important because every situation is so unique.

Related: Protection Dogs Offer a New Kind of Support to Domestic Abuse Victims

Jake’s official capacity is that where nuzzling and cuddling with upset victims is key. He helps them calm down and brings peace to them as they pet him and he lays his head in their lap. Standefer says his technique is all his own as she never taught him any of his loving protocol.

So while he may not have been the best service or rescue dog, seems like he picked up a few tricks to make him just the right dog for the job he currently is in and proves that dropping out doesn’t always mean failure!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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