Courthouse Facility Canine Introduced to Lycoming County

From Judge McCoy:

Jerri and JediI am pleased to announce that on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, Jedi will officially begin his job as a Courthouse Facility Canine in Lycoming County. Jedi’s job is to assist children involved in dependency, family court and delinquency cases. Jerri Rook is Jedi’s handler and has just completed two intensive weeks of training through Canine Companions for Independence (Canine Companions).

The first few weeks we have Jedi in the office is a critical time. It is imperative that he understands that the office is a place of work for him. As tempting as it will be to drop in to meet Jedi, we are requesting that you do not do so for the first several weeks. Jedi needs to settle into his routine of his job and bond with Jerri. For the first six weeks, Jedi will not officially be working, but will be becoming acclimated to the courthouse and working with Jerri.

Canine Companions maintains ownership of Jedi. It is Jerri’s responsibility to preserve the trained behaviors that Canine Companions has worked to instill in him. Canine Companions has the right to remove Jedi from Lycoming County if they feel we have not maintained his behaviors, as well as for other things, such as gaining weight, even a few pounds.

In light of this, I ask that you follow the guidelines recommended by Canine Companions and help foster a strong relationship between Jerri and Jedi. Please don’t feed him; don’t pet him without asking; don’t bother him while he is in his crate or on general “down time”; and don’t request Jedi to follow any commands or do any tricks. I won’t go into details of why, but these all directly connect to Jedi’s training.

Once Jedi’s six weeks of transition are over, we will be hosting a meet-and-greet/puppy shower. You are all invited at that time to come and meet Jedi. You will receive a formal invitation to this event so keep an eye out for it.

Jerri and I thank you in advance for understanding “the rules” that have been created by Canine Companions in regard to Jedi. Canine Companions has committed two years to training Jedi and has provided him to Lycoming County, at no cost. We are truly grateful for this opportunity to provide a kinder, softer place for kids as they navigate the judicial system during what is surely the hardest and most stressful time in their young lives.

A HUGE thank you goes out to Jerri Rook for all of the time, energy and effort she has put into making this wish of mine (and hers) a reality. I also wish to thank the Courthouse Dog Committee, Jerri Rook, James Sortman, Donna Sortman, Ann Sanders, Linda Bryant and Jennifer McConnell; Canine Companions for allowing us to make Jedi a part of our lives; The Animal Hospital on the Golden Strip who have agreed to help out with veterinarian fees; Mark Egly and Lycoming County Children & Youth Services Agency who have provided our start-up costs, training costs, and at least the first year of maintenance costs; and Tioga County Facility Dog Program for showing us the way and getting us started.