Austin Dog Alliance therapy-dog program receives grant to calm traumatized families in child-welfare court

Top Quote Austin Dog Alliance will expand its Therapy Dogs in the Courtroom program services to three additional child-welfare courts with grant from Texas Bar Foundation. End Quote
  • Austin-San Marcos, TX (1888PressRelease) June 14, 2017 - The Austin Dog Alliance, a 501(c)3 nonprofit located in Cedar Park, Texas, today announced that it was awarded $8,325 by the Texas Bar Foundation for its Therapy Dogs in the Courtroom program. The grant, which will fund the program for one year, will enable the Alliance to expand this program that brings trained therapy dog teams to the Travis County child-welfare court to reduce the tensions of children and adults during stressful proceedings.

    The Alliance has been bringing therapy-dogs to child-welfare court since September of 2015.

    "The Texas Bar Foundation is proud to grant $8,325 to Austin Dog Alliance for the Therapy Dogs in the Courtroom program," says Andrea Stone, Texas Bar Foundation Executive Director. “This grant will allow the Alliance to expand to three additional courtrooms, including Williamson County, which has been specifically requested by CPS. "

    "We are so excited for the Foundation’s support," says Kathleen Majcher, pet therapy coordinator for the Austin Dog Alliance. "This grant is important to sustaining this important program that provides comfort to children and families during a very difficult time."

    Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $17 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably funded bar foundation.

    Judge Darlene Byrne, who presides over the 126th District Court where the program is active, welcomes the therapy dogs.

    “Our courtroom is like the ER of the hospital for children and families that come before us because of allegations of abuse and neglect of the children, and therapy dogs have been such a calming, nurturing addition,” says Byrne.

    “These children and families are frightened, traumatized and worried about what is going to happen to them,” she says. “When they come to the courtroom floor and find a calm and loving therapy dog there to pet, to just be, to accept them for who they are, it helps soothe fears and bring down anxieties.”

    Each year, Austin Dog Alliance helps thousands of men, women, seniors and children who need the comfort and understanding these special animals can provide. In 2016 alone, 160 Alliance therapy dog teams visited more than 275 partner sites, including hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and family courts, serving more than 50,000 Central Texans.

    “The dogs help calm not only the families we serve, but also the attorneys, judges, CASAs (court-appointed special advocates) and guests at the courthouse,” say Byrne. “I don’t know how we managed to be a trauma-informed court without Austin Dog Alliance.”

    About Austin Dog Alliance
    Located in Cedar Park, Texas, Austin Dog Alliance, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, therapy dog teams to local hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes; offers assistance to at-risk readers at schools and libraries through its Bow Wow Reading Dog program; and provides vocational training, coaching and placement in dog-related careers for adults with learning challenges through the S+CORE! program.

    In 2016, the Alliance opened its Kennel and Education Center to expand its service dog program, Hounds for Heroes. The Austin Dog Alliance also provides human-dog training classes for beginners and advanced dog owners. The organization depends on donations to sustain and grow its community outreach programs. For more information, visit

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