K-9 Shadow did her duty

Newly trained court therapy dog dies suddenly from unknown causes

September 13 at 7:35 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

K-9 Shadow did her duty
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office and many others were hurt by the sudden death of Shadow, a courthouse therapy dog who passed away Saturday.

A medium-sized, young border collie mix, Shadow trained earlier this year for her new position. Children trusted Shadow, who helped them feel more secure in the courtroom.

She often sat or laid next to them during testimony.

“Shadow was a sweet dog who provided comfort and happiness to those she came in contact with,” said St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne. “We will miss her.”

Lt. Clint Patterson, commander of Juvenile Investigations, was Shadow’s partner and handler. He said the comfort dog was “immediately loved” upon joining the Sheriff’s Office. “Shadow was a godsend and was deeply loved by everyone who met her,” Patterson said. “Her job was to help children who have been abused sexual, physically, emotionally or witnesses of violent crimes to feel more comfortable when talking with police. She did her job perfect, was loved by so many and helped so many kids.”

The cause of Shadow’s death is unknown. Her sudden loss took an emotional toll on Patterson, his wife and their two sons, he said. Shadow passed away in his arms, and he said her death was unexpected, sudden and, most of all, heartbreaking. She was buried at Patterson’s residence with a headstone made by the family.

Shadow became a therapy dog after she was hit by a car on River Road. She couldn’t walk on her rear legs and took residence in a special room at the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter as she healed.

The dog’s warm demeanor, despite her suffering, made an impression on those treating her at the shelter, including shelter supervisor Jena Troxler. Troxler knew St. Charles officers were discussing implementing their own “canine companions for kids” program and a gentle dog was needed to make it happen.

“We had told (Troxler) what we were looking for,” said Patterson. “She told us, ‘This dog is perfect.’ Her temperament was perfect for what we were searching for.”

View other articles written Ryan Arena

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