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Therapy Dogs Help Kids With Trauma Feel Calm Enough To Tell Their Stories

The dogs of the K9th Circuit Program are the ultimate therapy dogs for kids in courtrooms. In 2014, Orlando, Florida created a community outreach program called Companions for Courage where dogs provide a sense of secruity to children testifying in court.


"Think about how a child must feel. They have to face the person who has hurt them, they have to sit in front of a bunch of strangers and tell a really painful story, and most of the time they're not even with their family while they're testifying," said Joanne Rittenhouse, one of the dog handlers. "All the dogs make everyone calm; they have a good presence," she continued.

Studies have shown that people are better able to recollect facts and provide more accurate information regarding traumatic events when they are calm. With the assistance of the dog teams, children and adults are able to relieve their anxiety about the underlying traumatic events and provide more precise testimonies in court proceedings.

One very special therapy dog named Karl is one of 6 dogs in the K9 Circuit Program. He was born deaf, knows sign language, and is an amazing support to the kids.

"Karl gave her the courage to go through with the trial. I couldn't even get her out of the car when we first started and towards the end she was getting out of the car just to go and see Karl," added dog handler Carol Feiner.

As a part of the community outreach program, "Companions for Courage is about the victim and the dog. It's a bond, and a sense of security that the animal brings to the child – to give them the confidence and courage to face that scary place."

"Children feel protected to have this dog by their side" said Joanne. Since the program started, the Companions for Courage have been involved in 23 cases. Companions for Courage is the approved Therapy Dog Provider for the 5th Judicial Circuit and Ninth Judicial Circuit Courts of Florida.

This story was produced by Tracy Chevrier, shot/edited by James Haydon. To see more HooplaHa original videos, visit our YouTube channel and our Facebook page.

Blind Waiter

New from OnlyGood.tv! John Diakakis is one of the few blind waiters in the country. He lost most of his eyesight as a child but still thrived as a student. He was senior class president in high school and graduated cum laude from Ithaca College. After college, John decided to head back to the family business and work alongside his family at the Bendix Diner. John's customers rave about his exceptional and friendly service. Although completely blind by the age of 30, his perseverance and lack of fear has provided a positive blueprint for his children. Watch the full video now on OnlyGood.tv!

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'Kindness Rocks' Keep Young Boy’s Memory Alive

Joey Middlemiss had a big heart. Like many 1st graders, he loved music and Spiderman.  Tragically, however, he was struggling with Cardiomyopathy, a muscular heart condition that took his life in September of 2013. His best friend, Will Manganis missed his buddy terribly and wanted to do whatever it took to make sure his memory lived on. When Joey's parents, Scott and Kate, started the Joey Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation, an organized effort to raise money and awareness for Cardiomyopathy, Will wanted to do anything he could to contribute. That's why he started Kindness Rocks For Joey, by picking rocks off the beach of Cape Cod, painting them lovingly with hearts and selling them at local farmers markets for $3 each, Joey's favorite number, and donating all proceeds to the charity erected in Joey's honor. Check out this video and watch Will do his part to give back to those in need while honoring the memory of his best friend.

If you would like to stay connected to the Joey Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation, visit their website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

This video was produced by Lucia Nazzaro and shot/edited by Matthew Kravitsky. Want to see more kids do awesome things? Check out the Kids Are Awesome YouTube page, part of the HooplaHa Network...and don't forget to smile!

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Matthew "Griff" Griffin served in the 75th Ranger Regiment as a Rifle Company Fire Support Officer. After the military, he moved to the private sector to pursue his career. However, after seeing the destruction and devastation that occurred in the nations he fought in, he knew that he wanted to make a difference in those communities. With the help of friends and family, Griff created a company called "Combat Flip Flops" whose mission is to create peaceful, forward-thinking opportunities for self-determined entrepreneurs affected by conflict. Through persistence, respect, and creativity, Combat Flip Flops also empowers the mindful consumer to manufacture peace through trade. Watch the full video now on OnlyGood.tv!

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Kids Explain The Science of Happiness

A group of kids are asked various questions about what makes us happy. How do you turn a frown upside down? Is laughing better than smiling?

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New from OnlyGood.tv! Caly is invited to sing the National Anthem at LA's StubHub Center before a US Women's National Soccer team match. In this episode, Caly shares her feelings about being asked to perform at this nationally televised event and shows us how she preps before singing in front of a large crowd. Watch the full video now on OnlyGood.tv!

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