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Dog defends owner from violent boyfriend
A DOG defended his owner when she was being beaten up by her boyfriend in Tarragona at around 05.30 this morning (Thursday), and prevented him from getting near her again.
The couple's dog bit the man, 25, on the nose and arm when he attacked the woman, and then stood guard next to her growling whenever her assailant tried to approach her.
This gave her time to safely call the police without fear of reprisal or being stopped, since their pet's menacing attitude kept the boyfriend at bay.
He was arrested and the woman taken to A&E for her injuries, inflicted by her partner, to be treated.
She then admitted to the Guardia Urbana that her boyfriend had been abusing her physically and psychologically for over a year.
She will now get the support she needs, and if she is placed in safe housing, will be able to take her dog with her.
Dogs, especially rescue cases, are being used more and more often in domestic violence cases to help victims – who are statistically mostly women – to feel safe, and to help them recover from their ordeal.
The Tarragona-based Affinity Foundation has been training dogs to accompany women testifying in court against their violent partners or ex-partners, and also children who have been victims of crime, to help calm them down before they enter the dock.
Anxiety levels in women who had spent time with a trained golden retriever named Bob before testifying were much lower than those who had not had his company ahead of their appearance, according to tests carried out by the Foundation.
Women were accompanied by a victim support psychologist and given half an hour to play with Bob, who then met them at the door and went with them as far as the street.
Bob (pictured) comes from a pet shelter in Tarragona.
He was rescued after being very seriously ill-treated, and on his arrival, had shot wounds in his head and was terrified of men.
His physical and psychological rehabilitation and subsequent training means he is now very calm in all situations, and specialises in helping the most vulnerable – elderly persons with dementia, children and adults with developmental disorders, abused children, and domestic violence victims.
He sometimes goes into the court room, especially with young children who are terrified to speak.
A similar scheme was set up in 2008, five years after a labrador called Jeeter calmed down three abused children enough that they were able to open up to the prosecution.
Jeeter's owner Ellen O'Neil, a former State prosecutor from Seattle, joined forces with vet Celeste Walsen to set up the Courthouse Dogs Foundation.
Now, the Foundation has 114 dogs working in 33 States in the US, helping thousands of witnesses and crime victims, and four States have even passed laws to enable 'professional' courthouse dogs to be on hand for children required to testify.
Photograph of Bob the courthouse retriever by the Affinity Foundation, Tarragona
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