Daily Star UK
For a child, adult things can be overwhelming. People often struggle to take the stand in court to testify against someone who wronged them. So, imagine how ghastly this feeling would be to a child. One little girl had to take the stand to testify against a man who had wronged her. As soon as she saw him, she was frozen. Everything inside her refused to take the stand. Until she signed something to her dog.
YouTube/ HooplaHa - Only Good News
Karl was a working dog. But he wasn’t your everyday dog. He is a 65-pound boxer and his job is to serve and protect. No, he is not a police dog. But he was a hero none the less to one little girl. Karl was a special K9-circuit dog who would appear in court. Sometimes, children need support when taking the stand. And this is where these special pups come in. But Karl had an advantage over the rest of his unit.
Court House Dogs
Karl was born deaf. Believe it or not, this actually served him well throughout his life. He was unlike any other canine is his unit. The other dogs had to undergo training to not react to the sounds of the courtroom. The banging gavel, sobs from people and general buzz can set a dog off. But luckily, Karl’s hearing impairment made him unaware of the noises surrounding him. But this also affected his job.
Bay 9 News
Since Karl couldn’t hear, he was an incredibly laid-back dog. This made him a hit with the kids. He was big enough to make them feel protected. But also, floppy enough to make them feel calm. To boot, Karl would wear a blue cap to court every day. This gave him a relatable, goofy appearance. And this definitely put all children at ease. Especially one little girl who Karl helped. But his hearing did pose one problem.
Since Karl could not hear, training him was a little harder than other dogs. A deaf dog needs special instruction. Since they cannot hear a command, eye contact is crucial. And this posed a problem. Imagine trying to train an excitable puppy that cannot hear you. Instead of just shouting ‘Heal!’ when they run amok, you need to catch their full attention. But Karl wowed all trainers one day when he began to do something.
Even though Karl could not hear, he successfully learned to understand signing. Karl was trained to communicate via American Sign Language. This just goes to show how absolutely intelligent he was. Karl amazed all the trainers as he quickly took to commands signed to him. Since he could now understand his trainer’s wishes, he began to excel. He really was turning out to be a magnificent candidate. However, this new-found communication posed another problem.
Bay 9 News
An issue presented by Karl’s communication system was presented when interacting with children. Unlike the other courtroom dogs who could be controlled by voice command, Karl needed signs. Therefore, little kids had to learn the hand signals to summon and control Karl. Jittery nerves and a whole new language don’t often go too well together. This soon became apparent. Children loved Karl but could not communicate. So, Karl’s trainers decided to do something incredible.
Deaf Dogs Rock
Karl’s trainers put together a simple, easy to learn hand signal routine. This made it easy for kids to pick up and communicate with Karl. It made them feel as though they had a special language, only they and Karl could understand. Karl began to take the courtroom by storm, bringing relief to multiple children. But there was one child in particular that stood out. One little girl whom Karl would help immensely.
Ninth Circuit Court of Florida
Karl’s ability to sign enthralled one little girl in particular. She took to Karl like a duck to water. She was undergoing a difficult case, to say the least. In her past, a man had wronged her severely. This left her wary of the world. And now, she had to do something incredibly difficult. Face the man once more in court. But Karl did something remarkable for this child. With one sign, he would change her life forever.
YouTube/ Associated Press
After arduous prepping for her court date, the little girl appeared to be ready. However, as soon as she entered the courtroom, she became overwhelmed. When it came time to take the stand, the worst happened. The child absolutely froze up. She had no idea how she would be able to face that awful man once more. But then she remembered something. Quickly, she signed Karl. And that sign would change her life forever.
Deaf Dogs Rock
At that moment, Karl rose to the girl. She had signed for him to come sit by her. Karl’s presence made her feel calm. His big, muscular build made her feel protected. And with Karl’s support, the child began to testify. Amazingly, she made it through the entire process without a hitch. All of her prepping came back to her and she grew from strength to strength as she continued. But what was the outcome of this court case?
Thanks to Karl, the little girl was able to testify successfully. As a result of this, the man was locked up, never to hurt her again! What a victory, and it was all thanks to one deaf dog. Karl had made the world of difference to the little girl. Now she no longer needed to worry about that man. Her little life was free from trouble. And all it took was the confidence one soppy pup gave her. But Karl’s story grew quickly.
The story of Karl has been seen by millions. From social media posts, to actual news coverage, Karl has made his mark on society. As a result, the K9th Circuit Program has received a lot of attention. The trainers of these silent courtroom heroes are thankful for Karl’s exposure. Now more children know they have the support of a warm fluffy protector within the witness stand. Karl’s trainer, Joanna, couldn’t be happier.
Karl doesn’t only give support in the courtroom. After the trial, he does not just disappear from a child’s life. “We’ll be there as long as the child wants Karl to stay in their life. He’s helped a lot of children.” Trainer Joanne shared this in a recent interview. Instead of leaving children to deal with the aftermath of court alone, scheduled visits with Karl can be arranged. This can help them heal through it all.
All the while, Karl simply carries on. Unbeknownst to him, he is a hero for so many children. And he continues to serve and protect. Thanks to Karl, a number of kids will never have to worry again. This unknowing hero just soldiers on, day after day. Karl and the rest of the dogs in the K9th Unit make a world of difference to little lives on a daily basis. And even though he’ll never know, America thanks you, Karl.