News

Meet the puppy who doesn’t bark in court — and helps a diabetic solicitor-advocate to practise

By on

So fluffy, such Goldendoodle

doglead

The highly-ordered world of the courtroom can be a challenge for animals — as our recent report about a miniature horse relieving itself during a hearing in the US illustrated.

Happily, on this side of the pond our court-going animals are much bettered behaved. Bertie, who is one of the first emergency dogs working full-time in British courts, is a case in point — and could certainly teach that Ohio miniature horse a thing or two about respect for etiquette.

The five-month old Goldendoodle (a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle) belongs to Hull solicitor-advocate Joanna Golding, who is diabetic.

Since she was eight Golding has lived with the condition, which requires her to take regular blood tests to monitor her blood sugar levels and can be very disruptive to her working life. This is where Bertie — who can smell when Golding’s blood sugar levels become dangerously high or low — comes in.

jo-golding-linkedin
But how to alert the Ingrams solicitor-advocate of this crucial knowledge when she is before a judge?

No, Bertie doesn’t bark, instead — as demonstrated in the video below — tapping Golding’s foot three times with his paw. The right paw signals that her blood sugar is too low, the left that it is too high.

Golding, meanwhile, has had a special pocket sewn into her robe to carry treats for Bertie which she gives to him after an alert.

Since Bertie was granted permission to appear in Hull Crown Court by its top judge, Jeremy Richardson QC, he has performed impeccably, with the puppy’s only awkward moment to date coming after he let out a sigh when a defendant accused of rape informed the court of his decision to plead not guilty.

“He is very good in court. He is well behaved, doesn’t bark and he is doing well for a young pup,” explains Golding of Bertie, who will take 14 months to train-up in full after being selected and given the initial phase of his schooling by Ireland-based Service Dogs Europe.