Making a first appearance at the Boulder County Justice Center isn't a fun thing for most people. But when you're an 18-month-old Golden retriever, it's a blast.
Amigo, who's set to become Colorado's first-ever courthouse dog when he finishes training in a few months, on Wednesday took his first tour of the Justice Center, where he will be spending most of his days.
"I think he fits in well," said Jenny McClintock, a deputy Boulder County district attorney. "He's super friendly."
As a courthouse dog, Amigo's job will be to help calm and comfort victims and witnesses -- especially young ones -- as they go through trial.
District Attorney Stan Garnett heard about other courthouses in the nation enrolling in the program, and decided to get a dog for Boulder.
Amigo initially was in training in Michigan to be a service dog, but due to some minor hip problems he won't be able to pull or carry things. While that meant he could no longer be a service dog, the fact that he already was well-trained and socialized made him perfect to serve as a courthouse dog.
"He's already been socialized, and he's worked in 4-H before so he has been around lots of kids," said Janet Bayless, who will be responsible for finishing Amigo's training over the next few months. "Now he'll be trained to put his head in somebody's lap and for long stays."
But Bayless said Amigo already showed he has the stuff to be a courthouse dog when his flight to Colorado was delayed by five hours earlier this week.
"He handled it much better than people do," she said. "He just took a nap."
Amigo's first visit to the courthouse on Wednesday consisted mostly of getting familiar with the building, meeting the staff who will be caring for him, and, of course, rolling around in the courtyard grass.
But it wasn't all play for Amigo.
While it wasn't scheduled, Amigo happened to arrive at the same time as some victims were going through a trial, so Amigo got his first taste of being a courthouse dog. Even though his training isn't complete, the staff said he did well on his first job.
"He's a natural," said Kim Stalnacker, a Boulder victim's advocate. "He just went right over there and let them pet him."
Bayless said that during Amigo's training at her house in Berthoud she likely will bring the dog to Boulder once a week to continue to get familiar with the Justice Center and the staff.
Once Amigo reports for duty, several members of Garnett's staff and local victim's advocates will share the responsibility of taking the dog home at night and on weekends
In the meantime, Garnett said Amigo might also need a new wardrobe.
"We've got to get him a vest with the district seal on it," he said. "Maybe a badge."
But Bayless said that, for the most part, Amigo proved he already has all he needs to do well at his new gig.
"He's a Golden retriever, and that's all he needs to be," Bayless said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or email@example.com.