Meet our Companions
Companions for Courage dogs have been evaluated and labeled as being “bomb proof”: they do not react to loud noises, sudden movement, or other distractions. Their focus is to be a Companion, or best friend for their child, and nothing else. Companions for Courage is the approved Therapy Dog Provider for the 5th Judicial Circuit and Ninth Judicial Circuit Courts of Florida.
The Companions for Courage Dogs are there for virtually any child in need – whether it be in a hospital room, a counseling center, or even a shelter, our teams are ready to visit. We even make special visits to schools and children’s events.
Our Handlers are professionals who have been working with their Therapy Dogs for at least 2 years prior to becoming Companion for Courage members. Their dogs have been exposed to nursing homes, hospitals, elementary school children, disabled children and adults, excessive crowds, and more. Our handlers are required to complete a background check and a fingerprint check before being accepted into Companions for Courage. Companion dogs are also required to be deemed healthy by a veterinarian and be up to date on their rabies vaccination. All of our dogs carry a minimum of $2 million in liability insurance.
November 2003- September 2014
Otto was one of the founding members of Companions for Courage and was the founder of the humane education program with South Lake Animal League and PAWS Therapy Dogs. Otto was a happy white boxer boy with beautiful blue eyes and always wore a silly hat and a big smile (yes dogs can smile).
Otto loved everyone, but he was especially fond of children. Otto had been a therapy dog most of his life, starting in South Carolina visiting nursing homes and assisting in humane education programs. He assisted in teaching children and adults to be responsible pet owners and to be safe around dogs. He was also one of the first Cornerstone Hospice Pet Therapy Dogs. He helped patients and their families with their end of life journey. Otto was a busy boy who loved life and helping others. He will always be remembered as a “Forever Companion”.
Born in December 2005, Newman is a rescued Boxer with a great sense of humor, (yes, dogs have funny bones). Newman had his first therapy visit as a three month old puppy and has been bringing smiles to children and adults ever since. Newman is one of the founding members of Companions for Courage and has assisted in trials in Lake and Sumter Counties and with the K-9th Circuit in Orange County.
Born in November 2009, Jake is a Yellow Labrador Retriever who loves swimming, playing catch and being a Therapy Dog. As a Therapy Dog, Jake enjoys meeting new people, but especially loves to visit the kids at Camp Boggy Creek. He is still a playful pup, but when he puts on his vest, he knows it’s time to be serious. Jake is proud to be one of the founding members of Companions for Courage and the K-9th Circuit.
Karl is a special-needs dog; he is deaf, trained with American Sign Language he understands over 90 signs. Karl has overcome his disability and enjoys his life as a therapy dog; he brings love and happiness to seniors, children, children with special needs, and everyone he comes in contact with. Karl is well suited for the court room as he will provide loving support, will not worry about loud noises, and if it is a long session he will quietly take a nap. Karl’s workload has increased providing services to the children with humane education as well as after school activities. Karl is an ambassador, an inspiration as well as an educator for people who shied away from dogs with special needs. Karl does not know he is a special needs dog, and he has taught us more then we could ever hope to teach him. When Karl goes outside he likes to look around, smell the flowers, and check out the birds. He reminds us to slow down, smell the flowers and take in the beauty of the day.
Bella was born in February 2011, and is a very sweet Doberman Pinscher. She’s a loving, loyal, energetic and calm girl who loves to give and get attention. Bella is loved by all who meet her, and she plays an important role with Companions for Courage in Lake and Sumter Counties, as well as with the K-9th Circuit in Orange County.
Boomer is a Sheltie/Poodle mix who comes to us from Maine, where he was a Therapy Dog for many years, working at Maine General Hospital and Cancer Center. Boomer has been active in agility competition trials, and has also assisted in adult education classes which provided information to people interested in qualifying their dog for therapy volunteer work. Boomer is a hard working member of the Companions for Courage team, having visited with the Lake Sumter Children’s Advocacy Center and with work at the Lake and Sumter County courthouses.
Daisy-Mai is a pedigree Pomeranian and has been a registered Therapy Dog since 2011. Daisy is an active member of the Pet Therapy teams at Arnold Palmer Hospital and Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, where she visits inpatients at both facilities. Daisy-Mai has achieved the title of “Advanced Therapy Dog” from the American Kennel Club, which signifies her completion of over 100 Pet Therapy visits. She continues her good works by regular visitations to the Juvenile Justice Center in Orlando for Companions for Courage as part of the K-9th Circuit team.
February 2010 – May 2017
Memphis, a black Labrador Retriever mix, was a gentle soul and a quintessential member of Companions for Courage. His quiet, loving manner made him the perfect Companion. He enjoyed his Therapy Dog work visiting seniors and getting lots of attention, and always loved to lay his head in your lap. Memphis was also a READing Paws dog and loved going to schools where the children would read to him.
Kenai is a rescued American Akita who went through some tough times as a young dog – but he persevered and is now a big gentle soul who loves everyone. He especially loves anyone who will give him belly rubs.
Tilley is short for Matilda, which means “mighty in battle”, and that name fits because when she was just a puppy, she was abandoned and became very sick. But she was rescued by heroes and now has become one herself. She wants to share what she’s learned by being by your side. Let’s be brave together!
Born in 2012, Essie is a mixed breed rescue who loves everyone. She especially loves her work as a Therapy Dog and looks forward to helping the community as a member of Companions for Courage.
Born in May 2014, Maverick is a Golden-Doodle who loves to run and play. As a certified Therapy Dog, Maverick visits schools, nursing homes, and anywhere he can get hugs and rubs. He has a special “doggy sense” when someone needs a little extra attention or love, and reminds everyone he meets that life’s easier with a friend by your side, which is what makes him an excellent Companion for Courage member.
Born in 2008, Jackson is a Golden Retriever and Black Lab mix. As a Therapy Dog, he has worked in nursing homes, hospitals and schools. He is also a READ (Reading Education Assistance Dog) dog and works with children’s reading programs. For fun, Jackson likes to swim, play fetch, go to the beach and ride in the car!
Emma is a Boxer, and a born Therapy Dog. Although she is special-needs herself, she does not let that stop her from having a sweet personality. Her first job as a Therapy Dog was at 4 months old when she was assigned to fulfill a hospice patient’s last request. The request had been for a dog to lay in his arms and give sweet puppy kisses, and Emma was happy to step up and to the job. What better way to leave this world then with puppy kisses! Emma continues to give love and therapy to all those in need.