Last week, the Turpin family was the centre of the world’s attention as parents were sentenced to life in prison after having neglected their 13 children for years.
By, 25 Apr 2019
Many asked themselves how the Turpin children have coped over the past year. After one of the siblings escaped from the parental home and called the police early last year, David and Louise Turpin were arrested, and the children were rescued.
Raider to the rescue
Although saved, the children had immense trauma to overcome. Indeed, they had been sequestered inside their home, sometimes tied to their beds, malnourished and denied the right to shower for years. Finally out of the ‘house of terrors’ they were now to give statements about their ordeals, and watch as the only parents they’d ever known faced lifetime imprisonment.
Thankfully, they were not alone. 3-year-old Raider was trained as a service dog by Canine Companions for Independence, and joined Corona Police to help victims in such scenarios. Unlike other police dogs, Raiders job is mainly to provide companionship, while remaining calm enough to not become a distraction in the work environment.
Adam Roulston, one of Raider’s handlers, said one of the Turpin children had asked authorities to allow Raider to be with them on Friday during their parents’ sentencing hearing. The children took turns petting the loving dog who sat stoically by their side as they gave testimonies about their dark childhood.
Providing emotional support from day one
And it was not the first time the yellow lab came through for these brave kids. Ever since they were taken from their filthy home in Perris, California, Raider has been a faithful companion to the family, helping to comfort them and reduce their anxiety, throughout this year of chaos.
“Seeing how he makes people feel better, it’s the best reward ever,” Roulston told CNN.
Although this is a rather new movement, some courtrooms in the UK are starting to let therapy dogs in to help support witnesses emotionally. The benefits of having a service animal in such cases have so far proved to be great, and the trend is growing.
The Turpin children have certainly been through a lot, and were lucky to be able to rely on a true friend like Raider. Thank you, sweet boy!