Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Jake the D.A. Dog finds his calling comforting assault victims

It took a couple tries, but Jake, a 4-year-old black Labrador mix, has found his calling.

Jake didn't make it in search-and-rescue training because his paws were too tender, and he is such a deep sleeper, he wasn't able to work as a dog assisting people with medical issues. His owner Rhoni Standefer, the domestic violence victim/witness coordinator at the Anderson County district attorney's office in Tennessee, realized when she brought him to work one day that he is the perfect emotional support dog. "This dog can pick up on emotions," she told the Knoxville News Sentinel. "He just loves people, and he wants them to feel good. If he sees someone being upset or irritated, he migrates to them."

Since he started in July, Jake — aka "Jake the D.A. Dog" — has offered support to 50 people in the office. It started one day when Standefer brought him to work, and he saw a woman crying and put his head on her lap. He can read a person's emotions, she said, and "it's amazing how he seems to know when he's needed and when he's not." Jake is comfortable in the office and in the courtroom, and while he spends most of the time napping under the prosecutor's table, he's there just in case he's needed next to the witness stand. Catherine Garcia