2022 Peer Training Workshops

Virtual workshops for justice facility dog handlers and other professionals involved in facility dog programs in the legal system.

Beginning July 13, 2022, these one-hour workshops are offered live at 11 AM Pacific Time on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month and are also available as recordings afterward if you are unable to attend in person.

The cost for each workshop is just $25. The registration link is available for each workshop below.

Please note – The material in these workshops is intended for professionals who are partnered with a certified facility dog from an ADI-accredited assistance dog organization.


July 13 – How to Convince a Judge That a Facility Dog in the Witness Box is a Good Thing with Ellen O’Neill-Stephens JD

Request registration for recorded workshop

Ellen O’Neill-Stephens served as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Seattle, Washington for 26 years, retiring in November of 2011; she is a pioneer in the use of dogs to provide emotional support in the criminal justice system and the founder of Courthouse Dogs.  Since 2003, she has promoted the use of highly trained assistance dogs to provide comfort to children and adults who are victims or witnesses of crimes and support juveniles and adults in mental health and drug courts. Ellen’s son, Sean, and his service dog, Jeeter, were the inspiration for the Courthouse Dogs Foundation.  Ellen received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and was a juvenile probation officer before entering law school.

Ellen will prepare you and your prosecutor to create a persuasive motion to allow a facility dog to accompany a testifying witness during a criminal trial.


July 27 – Best Practices for Including a Facility Dog in Forensic Interviews with Laura Romans

Request registration for recorded workshop

Laura Romans has been conducting forensic interviews with the help of her partner Ottimo, trained by Canine Companions, since 2015. Laura has conducted more than 1000 forensic interviews over the past 15 years, with and without the help of a facility dog. She has a BA and MS in psychology and is active in education in her field. Laura and Ottimo have been fixtures at the International Courthouse Dog Conferences since 2015.

Ottimo with the program from the 2016 International Courthouse Dogs Conference


Laura will discuss the best way to include a facility dog in forensic interviews in such a way as to be the most effective in providing the support that victims and witnesses need. Please feel free to bring any questions that you have to this workshop, as we will allow time for discussion after Laura’s presentation.






August 10 – Including a Facility Dog In Family and Juvenile Court with Karen Zabel and Jerri Rook

Register for this workshop

Karen Zabel is the Facility Dog Handler for the Delaware County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program in Muncie Indiana.  She and her partner Frankie were members of the first graduating class of facility dogs from Duo in February 2017.  Karen joined the CASA staff in 2009 and has served as a case manager, volunteer supervisor, court liaison and now facility dog handler.  Karen and Frankie assist children in court (CHINS, Delinquency and Criminal), at the Child Advocacy Center, and in a variety of settings as they work with prosecutors, law enforcement and the Department of Child Services.  In their free time, Karen and Frankie enjoy playing frisbee and taking long walks.


Jerri Rook is the Executive Assistant to President Judge Nancy L. Butts and Facility Dog Handler for the Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas. Jerri has been with Lycoming County since 2010.  She graduated from Central Pennsylvania Business School in 1993 with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration.  Jerri attended Team Training with Canine Companions for Independence in February 2018, and was matched with Jedi II, who passed away in November 2021.  Jerri attended Team Training again in April of 2022 and was matched with Ludo II.  Jerri and Ludo work primarily with children in the Dependency system, the Delinquency system, Family Law matters, Treatment Courts, and, at times, work with victims in the criminal system.  Ludo appears in Court, as well as working with children and victims as they prepare for Court.


Karen and Jerri will talk about their experiences in family and juvenile courts, and share techniques that have been the most successful for them in assisting children and families.



August 24 – Facility Dogs Within University Police Departments with Tiffinni Archie and Jennnifer Thompson

Register for this workshop

Tiffini Archie is a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board Cannabis Enforcement Officer. Previously, she worked for 8 years as a university police officer for Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington, with a specialty in crisis intervention and sexual assault and domestic violence. As the handler for the first university police facility dog program in her state, Tiffinni was responsible for creating policies for her department, best practices in the use of the facility dog, and a strong social media presence. On campus, Tiffinni utilized her facility dog Hilani on patrol, fostering positive relationships with marginalized populations, survivors of trauma and other groups throughout campus.

Jennifer Thompson is currently a 2nd year PhD student at the University of Texas Health Science Center where she is focused on Violence Epidemiology. She holds a master of public health (MPH) from Michigan State University where her capstone project involved organizational stress amongst law enforcement officers and the presence of departmental facility dogs. Jennifer holds a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) instructor’s license and she has been a regular instructor for the University of Texas System Police academy in Austin, TX since 2015. She also previously worked with the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) where she was a statewide campus law enforcement trainer. Jennifer has also served as a volunteer victim advocate with the University of Texas at Austin police department since the inception of the Victim’s Advocate Network (VAN) program in 2018. She is proud to support campus law enforcement across the country and believes that facility dogs are particularly well-suited to campus policing. Jennifer lives in Austin, TX with her cat, George (who was rescued from a storm drain by police outside of Houston) and is patiently waiting to be matched with a facility dog.

In this presentation, Tiffinni and Jennifer will discuss some of what makes campus policing unique and how incorporating a facility dog into a campus police department can build and strengthen relationships. Particularly, they will focus on the ways that a campus police facility dog can help to connect and serve persons in crisis, people of color, and other marginalized campus groups. This section will include discussion on campus mental health, community engagement, and communications. In the second part of our presentation, they will discuss some things to consider in getting started with a campus facility dog program. This will include first steps, important components to consider, and some resources to help get started.


September 14 – Developing a Statewide Facility Dog Program with Tamara Martin and Susan Bradshaw

Registration opening soon

Tamara Martin has spent over 35 years in the criminal justice system, having worked with both offenders and victims.  Tamara earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Auburn University at Montgomery. Tamara began her professional career counseling and advocating for domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Starting in 1992 and continuing for 21 years, Tamara was employed as a Probation Officer for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.  Following her retirement in 2013, she began the first courthouse facility dog program in Alabama. In May 2014, Tamara was placed with facility dog Willow, a graduate of Canine Companions.  Due to Willow and Tamara being the only courthouse Facility Dog team in Alabama for four years, Willow has assisted with cases all over the state.  Tamara and Willow were instrumental in starting HERO, Alabama’s statewide facility dog program, which was the first statewide program in the country. Willow retired in May of 2021 at which time Tamara was placed with Successor Facility Dog Yahini. Tamara is a Facility Dog Handler for the Office of Prosecution Services in Montgomery, Alabama.

Susan Bradshaw is originally from Pine Bluff, AR and is a graduate of Henderson State University.  She received her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas Little Rock in 2002.  She is married to Jerry and is the mother of two daughters, Jillian (16) and Katherine (12).  Susan was a Victim Advocate with the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for 11 years before going to work for PCO with the PAWS for Justice Program.  She is active in her church, is a Girl Scout troop leader, and serves on the Arkansas State Council for the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision.  Susan has worked in the criminal justice field for the past 19 years. Barb is an 8-year-old lab/golden cross who was purposefully bred and trained by Canine Companions.  She began working in the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office with Susan and Fawn Borden on February 16, 2016.

During this one-hour presentation, Tamara and Susan will discuss how to develop a Statewide Facility Dog program by identifying who the possible stakeholders are, ways to sell the program, who employs the handlers, options on what office would they work out of, what services will they provide, how many handlers you need to start a program, and where to find potential funding.



September 28 – Best Practices When Including a Facility Dog In Forensic Medical Exams with Lisa Wahl

Registration opening soon


Details for this workshop coming soon.






October 12 – Facility Dogs Provide Support in a Police Department with Lameka Bell

Registration opening soon



Details for this workshop coming soon.







October 26 –

November 9 –

November 23 –

December 14 –

December 28 –

For a free consultation, Contact us today