CENTENNIAL - There wasn't much normalcy throughout a four-month long death penalty murder trial in Arapahoe County. Except for Chester, Oscar, Clancey, Finn and Bronte.
The group of five therapy dogs volunteered hundreds of hours to gladly receive belly rubs, pets, snuggles, and oftentimes, tears.
The dogs, from black Labrador to golden retriever, spent day after day, since May 18, at the Arapahoe County Justice Center volunteering with Animals for Therapy.
The team of furry volunteers are trauma support dogs, and they were much needed during an emotionally draining trial that lasted several months, in which dozens of victims had to recount the most horrifying days of their lives in front of a courtroom.
Sometimes, the fluffy gang would visit with witnesses just before they testified. Other times, they absorbed hugs and tears as those testifying came out of the courtroom overwhelmed with emotion.
The therapy dogs are highly trained in trauma support, and are trained to remain calm, cool, and collected, even when they are swarmed by people or in intense situations.
"There is nothing normal about a courthouse," Kateri Nelson, executive director of Animals for Therapy, said. "But, when our dogs walked in, they managed to bring back some sense of normalcy."
Nelson and her big black lab Chester spent more than 100 volunteer hours at the courthouse, and the fluffy therapist was always ready for hugs, kisses, belly rubs and, oftentimes, tears.
Animals for Therapy is a registered charitable organization dedicated to promoting the human-animal bond through animal-assisted therapy. Also known as Colorado Pet Partners, the group represents over 70 therapy animal teams volunteering in the Rocky Mountain region, from Colorado to Montana.
For more, visit www.animals4therapy.org.
(© 2015 KUSA)