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Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

Tribunal Metropolitano del Condado de Bernalillo

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Specialty Courts’ 1st Annual Dog Show brings awareness, promotes rehabilitation



It wasn’t your everyday sight as dozens of pooch pets gathered in Metropolitan Court’s outdoor courtyard on September 20th for the court’s 1st Annual Fun Dog Show and Resource Day.    


The event, meant to promote experiential therapy and bring awareness to the court’s 11 Specialty Courts, was a success with 37 dogs entering the competition, 16 resource providers coming out and dozens of Specialty Court participants serving as judges for the show.  The event was open to the public, specialty court participants, court staff, and justice partners.


The idea of hosting a Dog Show was inspired by a current DWI Recovery Court participant who credits much of his sobriety to caring for, training, and professionally showing dogs across the country - a hobby he says he likely would not have embraced had he still been drinking.  


“Showing dogs has been a positive outlet for me,” said Terrence Thrasher, who is scheduled to graduate from the DWI Recovery Court in February.  “Caring for other living beings has taught me how to take better care of myself. It keeps me on the right track.”


Many specialty court participants have found similar benefits through experiential therapy promoted by the specialty courts such as; equine therapy, service dogs, and meditation.  


Specialty Court participants were tasked with judging the Dog Show, which featured 10 categories from Best Trick and Best in Breed.  The winners went home with ribbons and dog treats, and Specialty Court participants were able to earn community service hours. Between contests, those in attendance heard from former specialty court graduates, who talked about their recovery and where they are now.  


“We hope the event brought awareness to the many great things that are happening in our Specialty Courts,” said Chief Judge Edward L. Benavidez, who also presides over the DWI Recovery Court.  “We also wanted to acknowledge those who have worked so hard to live clean, productive lives and provide additional resources to those still on their journey.”


In addition to judging and participating in the show, the public and Specialty Court participants were able to connect with service providers in the community who offer assistance with housing, employment, schooling, veteran services, etc.  There were also information tables for the court’s 11 Specialty Court programs.

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