Jake has dedicated himself to making the lives of others better, furrier, safer.
Unfortunately, the Labrador mix’s tender paws and curious nature kept him from achieving his true dreams: becoming a service dog.
According to knoxnews.com, these simple, natural traits eliminated Jake from service dog and rescue dog positions, but Jake didn’t give up. Eventually he found a job where the sweetness of his soul mattered more than the texture of his paw pads.
Jake is now Jake the DA Dog at the Anderson County District Attorney General’s Office in Clinton, Tennessee. Here he serves as an emotional support dog to domestic abuse victims, providing support, strength and cuddles.
“This dog can pick up on emotions. He just loves people, and he wants them to feel good. If he sees someone being upset or irritated, he migrates to them,” Rhoni Standefer, Jake’s coworker and the DA’s domestic violence victim/witness coordinator, said.
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Standefer isn’t only Jake’s coworker, she’s also his mom. And it is this proud mom that finally got Jake a job helping others. It all started when she brought her pooch into work one day to get some extra socialization. He immediately gravitated to the most emotional individuals that stopped by Standefer’s office to consult with her. Soon, with the district attorney’s approval, Jake was on the staff.
“Every case is so different. He just kind of feels it out and does this thing,” Standefer said.
“This thing” consists of Jake cuddling, nuzzling and sitting with upset visitors. The effect is “magic.” A person who was distraught moments before will calm down in Jake’s presence, start petting his furry head nuzzled in their lap and open up to Standefer.
“This is not something I taught him. This is something he does,” Jake’s owner said of her dog’s special gift.
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Through his series of job fails, three in total, Jake has picked up skills that make him even more perfect for his current role. In court, when Jake is there to comfort victims taking the witness stand, the 4-year-old dog knows to sit up when the bailiff calls “all rise” and to stay quiet and calm throughout the proceedings.
Turns out, for Jake, the fourth time was the charm.