Bettinger book chronicles therapy dog Rikki's rescues

December 29, 2015

A courtroom is intimidating, especially to a child witness.

A judge looks solemnly down from on high. A uniformed deputy wears a gun. Everyone’s dressed up and staring at you. It feels like Judgment Day, and in a way, it is. Who wouldn’t be frightened?

Enter Rikki “Lake Pontchartrain” Mitchell. Rikki is a golden retriever who was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and came to live at the Miccosukee Land Co-op with two remarkable animal lovers: Chuck and Patty Mitchell. Rikki is also a therapy dog who helps people. Some are ill or have disabilities. Some are children who are the victims of sex crimes. Rikki is so good with abused children, she helped inspire lawmakers to pass the nation’s first statewide legislation (Ch. 2011 – 220, Laws of Florida) allowing therapy animals in courtrooms to help children who have been sexually abused.

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