The Twentieth Judicial District Victim Services Bureau is hosting an online art auction to support the facility where Barb, the court dog, was trained.
“This auction is our opportunity to return Canine Companions for the amazing gift they provided for free – Barb,” said Susan Bradshaw, the victim / witness coordinator who is also one of Barb’s carers. “We take part in their biggest fundraiser every year, which takes place in different regions of the country called DogFest. All proceeds go directly to Canine Companions. “
Barb was the first court dog in Arkansas. Bradshaw and co-handler Fawn Borden began working with Barb in February 2016.
Since working with the Twentieth Judicial District, Barb has participated in 10 court cases and participated in more than 200 meetings with children.
“It is so important to us that we use a professionally trained dog from an organization like Canine Companions because we know the behavior we will experience in such important situations as a courtroom,” Bradshaw told the Log Cabin Democrat. “Although we fully support rescuing animals from animal shelters in dog situations, you do not know what they have experienced in life before you and their behavior in a professional setting is not guaranteed. These dogs are carefully bred and expertly trained to serve as service animals for veterans, people with disabilities and / or hearing impairments, and to work with clients in institutions (schools, courtrooms, hospitals, etc.). “
Criminal trial children can use Barb to comfort them while they testify in court.
“The image of a young child entering a courtroom full of strangers to testify in front of the man who raped her, but she has a companion, friend, and ally. This is what Barb was to so many children who went through what the rest of us would not even want to imagine, “said 20th Judicial District Attorney Carol Crews.
In an effort to raise money for dog attendants to continue training dogs to provide services like Barb, the sacrificial service staff are using Barb and will be auctioning their artwork for the next week.
The online auction is available on Barb’s Facebook page (Barb – Arkansas’ First Courthouse Facility Dog) and each online bidding starts at $ 5. The auction officially started on Friday, July 9th at 5pm and ends on July 16th at 5pm.
The preparation of the artwork was a special treat for Barb too.
“Barb absolutely loved creating the artwork,” said Bradshaw.
The team dropped various colors on canvases before covering the canvases with plastic wrap. Once the canvas was covered, Barb’s handlers sprinkled a few dollop of peanut butter on it so Barb could get to work creating unique pieces of art.
“Barb got her meal command ‘OK’ and then went into town to lick off the peanut butter and spread the color under the shell,” said Bradshaw. “Barb only eats her croquettes and rarely gets treats, so this was an especially fun process for her.”
After the auction, the victim service staff will contact the highest bidder to collect payment and work out delivery options.