How A Deaf Dog Surprised Everyone And Changed A Little Girl’s Life Forever
Testifying in court is definitely among the least favorite things that one can do, especially if you’re the one that has been hurt. The entire experience is so overwhelming that people often tremble, sweat or even burst out of tears when they have to speak about scenes and situations they’ve experienced. If that’s so difficult for many adults, can you imagine how hard it is for a child to testify on the court?
This young girl had to testify in front of so many adults among which was also the man that has done her wrong. The poor child was so apparently shaken and scared that her little body froze when she saw the guilty man. She lost her voice and couldn’t move, but that’s when she signalized something to her dog that changed everything and left everyone in the courtroom in awe.
1. Karl The Boxer
Karl is not a regular dog you can see every day. He is a 5-year-old service dog that works hard to help many children that need him. In some situations, kids need additional support that can be easily found in their furry companions. Although all pets soothe your soul, service dogs are trained to feel their human’s feeling much better which is why they are so special.
The Orange County’s K-9th Circuit Program pairs up therapy dogs with kids that are going through some hard times. Testifying in court for a child is a very tough thing to do, which is why it’s not surprising that this young girl got a dog named Karl to serve her during or even after the trial.
2. Born Deaf
Even if Karl was a hero to so many kids already, he was special for other reasons too and was different from his other service dog mates. Karl was born deaf, and although this made some things like training a bit difficult, it turned out that this particular feature of his made him suitable for certain jobs much better than other service dogs.
While other dogs would get trigger by the sounds of the courtroom such as gavel banging or sobs, being unaware of all the noises Karl wouldn’t be triggered by them and could keep his calm despite the things happening during the trial.
3. Protective And Cuddly
Karl was easily adored by all kids he worked with. He was easygoing enough to make kids feel cozy around him but also big enough to make them feel protected and safe.
What makes this hard-working dog even more adorable is that he wears his blue cap to court every day. Seeing such a cute presence, kids feel instantly relieved when he’s around. However, his deafness made one thing in this trial difficult.
4. Training Problems
Since Karl was born deaf, it was quite hard to train him properly. His disability made ordering regular commands a useless tactic in following his human’s companions instructions. All the work, approaches and experience the trainers had with other dogs seemed to be completely pointless.
Yelling out words had no effect on Karl and never caught his attention. So, the trainers had to find a new approach. All they knew was that Karl’s eye contact was particularly vital to the new outlook. One day, the clever dog did something that gave them a clue of what to do.
5. Intelligent Dog
Although Karl was suffering from an impaired hearing, he still had other skills that made him quite a capable service dog. First of all, this boxer proved to be quite intelligent and actually learned to respond to commands that were based on signing.
This dog learned to recognize the American Sign Language! The trainers were completely in awe when they realized this dog could interpret what the trainer’s signed him. Learning this about Karl, the trainers did everything in order to make him be a complete, fully functional service dog, but when it came to children, they encountered a new obstacle.
6. Communicating With Kids
Although the fact that Karl could recognize, interpret and respond to sign language, this communication mechanism wasn’t the best solution when it came to communicating with children. In order to interact with them, these kids would have to be familiar with the sign language, which was quite unlikely.
The trainers were once again puzzled and wanted to do something that would enable Karl to be a companion of the young children. It wasn’t enough that kids loved Karl already, communicating properly was a must in order to assign a therapy dog to a kid. So, the trainers decided to do something quite unusual.
Since Karl was smart enough to interpret American sign language, the trainers were quite sure that he will be able to understand other patterns of hand signals too. These hand signals would be easier to remember for small kids which would potentially end the communication problem.
By creating a unique gesture language, the trainers hoped that kids would be able to communicate with Karl. And indeed, their approach proved to be quite effective, and Karl could finally be the relief all children were waiting for. However, among all kids that loved Karl, there was one little girl that needed him the most.
8. Helping Scared Kids
Children Karl works with have been through very difficult situations for such a young age. These kids have been witnessed abuse, or even worse, were abused. So, it is very hard for their little young souls to open up and speak up about what they saw and what they experienced. It can be hard for them to tell the stories to someone they love and trust, but it gets even harder in front of adults they’re seeing for the first time.
This girl that had a special bond with Karl had to face two depositions and a trial, and Karl was assigned to be next to her during all that time. He was now her dog and he was going to make everything this girl had to go through much easier.
9. Hearing Date
Although the little girl tried her best to prepare herself for the hearing date and for facing the evil man that hurt her, she was so overwhelmed when she took the step into the courtroom that she completely paralyzed.
When it was the time for her to speak up and take the stand, the poor girl just couldn’t move. She felt that she wasn’t ready to face that horrible man again, and talk about what she experienced. But luckily, there was Karl that was by her side and waiting for her sign.
10. Reacting To The Gesture
The girl was still shivering from the overwhelming situation, but then she remembered something: the sign gesture she had to show her dog, Karl. She showed him with a gesture to come and sit beside her, and the dog instantly came and sat next to her.
The judge understood that the girl needed some help in order to speak, so everybody wanted to make an atmosphere which would make the poor girl feel calmer. And, indeed, the girl felt much more relieved when Karl came and felt ready to begin her story.
Suddenly, everything she prepared for the trial now came back to her and she continued speaking about the horrible event that she experienced. With Karl by her side, she was able to remain calm during the entire process.
Since the girl had to spend a lot of hours on the witness stand, Karl never left her and was sleeping by her side the whole time. She couldn’t reach down enough in order to pet him, so she kicked off her shoes and ran her toes through Karl’s fur in order to feel his presence. She felt much more secure while knowing Karl was there to protect her.
12. The Verdict
Now that the girl finished with her testimony successfully thanks to her friend Karl, it was the time to wait for the verdict. They had to wait for the final word that will decide what will happen with the man that made this girl face all these things that were too overwhelming for her young age.
Finally, the verdict was given and the court order that the man should be locked up. Luckily, the verdict meant that this scary man won’t be able to hear anyone anymore. This meant that the little girl could finally relax and try to forget everything she witnessed. However, this entire story made Karl such a popular dog that everybody wanted to learn more about him.
13. Celebrity Dogs
The story about Karl and the little girl became viral and it was covered in news and spread widely on social media. Thanks to him and his amazing abilities, Karl gained K9th Circuit Program much attention that could be very helpful for their organization.
The organization, its trainers, as well as these therapy dogs’ owners, were more than happy and grateful for the new exposure Karl has earned them. Now many people knew that their kids could get support from a fluffy dog in difficult situations like the one of the young girl and testifying on the court.
14. Post Trial Therapy
However, Karl’s job doesn’t end with the verdict. Kids can feel overwhelmed after the courtroom sessions too and need additional support even in the aftermaths. Therefore, Karl and other therapy dogs (as well as their trainers), stay next to the child as long as they are needed.
These heroic dogs support their young human friends even outside of the walls of the courtroom. In order to soothe their little souls from potential trauma, scheduled visits with Karl are made available to all the kids that need it.
15. Innocent Hero
Despite having an impaired hearing and having a problem in interacting with humans like other dogs, Karl made it become great support and a famous hero of so many children. He continues to be this great loving dog to this day and helps other kids get through difficult times.
Karl, including other dogs from the K9th Unit, made a big difference in the lives of little children. They make these kids feel less scared and make them overcome their fears and worries much better. Although Karl can’t stay in this little girl’s life forever, he will surely stay in her heart.