The Student News Site Of Central Kitsap High School

Cougar Chronicle

The Student News Site Of Central Kitsap High School

Cougar Chronicle

The Student News Site Of Central Kitsap High School

Cougar Chronicle

Want to stay caught up with the latest stories?

Subscribe

* indicates required
Support Us
$415
$750
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Central Kitsap High School. Your contribution will help us cover our annual website hosting costs.

Lovely to Meet You: Lovely the Courthouse Dog

Meet Kitsap County’s Courthouse dog ‘Lovely,’ whose objective is to reduce stress and anxiety for witnesses in investigations through her calm and friendly presence in the courtroom.
Lovely+the+courthouse+dog+calmly+poses+for+a+photo+at+Starbucks.
Sarah Dowell
Lovely the courthouse dog calmly poses for a photo at Starbucks.

Six-year-old Lovely began her first duties as Kitsap County’s courthouse dog in 2020. With her handler, Kelly Pendras, Lovely clocks into work every day.

“Whether she goes in part-time, it varies,” Pendras said. “Sometimes she’s super busy, and other times, she’s more kind of there for moral support for those that work.”

Lovely is a friendly dog and often visits many of Pendras’ co-workers throughout the day.

Police dogs are very different from courthouse dogs. Most police dogs are active because they’re trained for search and rescue or drug detection. They’re prepared differently, use a different dog breed, and are usually more high-strung.

Courthouse dogs, on the other hand, have calm demeanors; they are ideally trained to sit for long periods. For example, when a witness testifies in the courtroom, the dog must stay unagitated to avoid disrupting the proceedings.

Lovely’s primary role as a courthouse dog is to put people at ease, especially children.

“Kids relax, they start to tell you about their animals and start to relax and talk,” said Pendras. “And a lot of times, it’s easier for a kid to say something to Lovely than it is to a big group full of strangers.”

Accompanying witnesses to the stand is common; witnesses can choose to have the dog with them when testifying. Pendras recalls being in the middle of a jury trial with Lovely, who sat beneath a child testifying. As the child got up to demonstrate for the court, Lovely pranced toward the jury to say hi.

“They loved it,” said Pendras. “…but she’s not supposed to do that.”

Lovely primarily works with juveniles; however, she is versatile and provides equal comfort to adults and others outside the courthouse.

“I’ll bring her in for adults who are upset in certain cases,” said Pendras. “I brought her to dentists before for kids and people afraid of their appointments.”

Lovely is among 19 courthouse dogs in the state of Washington. Provided by the organization Canine Companions (which has facilities across the United States), Lovely was born in Idaho and then traveled to Santa Rosa, California, for training. Stevie Wonder’s hit song “Isn’t She Lovely” played when she was born, giving her the name “Lovely”.

A puppy raiser raises facility dogs for about 18 months, where they learn basic commands and then do between six to nine months of more advanced training. After an evaluation, the dog’s demeanor is determined.

“Canine Companions owns Lovely until she retires, and then I get to adopt,” said Pendras.

To be a canine champion handler, the recipient must receive training on adequately handling facility dogs in the courtroom and other public areas. Training includes instruction on how to use, lead, and command the dog properly.

“You do a lot of practice and testing and field trips, and then you do a test in a public area,” said Pendras. “We did evolve.”

Lovely’s predecessor, Karis, worked as Kitsap County’s first courthouse dog for 13 years and was one of the first in Washington state. After seeing how valuable Karis’s presence was, prosecutor Kelly Pendras assigned Lovely to be her successor, and was proven to be a welcome guest: Kitsap County judges immediately accepted Lovely in the courtroom.

Donate to Cougar Chronicle
$415
$750
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Central Kitsap High School. Your contribution will help us cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Cougar Chronicle
$415
$750
Contributed
Our Goal