Should Mediation go to the Dogs?

Before I joined academia, I brought my dog to work with me, and learned through first-hand experience how he lowered stress levels and made the work day more pleasant. For the results of a study finding dogs decrease stress at work and increase productivity see: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/30/scientific-study-recommends-bringing-dogs-to-the-workplace/

Dogs have also been brought into law schools to help decrease student-stress. For cute photos of happy law students from George Mason University playing with puppies see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/cuddly-puppies-help-law-students-de-stress-before-exams/2011/12/01/gIQA0s9LIO_story.html .

For examples from the University of Arizona School of Law, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/pet-therapy-students-stress-_n_1148705.html

And to see photos of Monty, the therapy dog at Yale Law School, where students can apparently check him out of the library, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/pet-therapy-students-stress-_n_1148705.html .

Dogs are also being used to aid victims, particularly children, in court. For example, Rosie the therapy dog helped a child rape victim during her testimony in New York. See, http://abcnews.go.com/US/service-dog-court-takes-witness-stand/story?id=13958418

All of this made me curious—is anyone using dogs to help in mediation? A quick google search led me to stories of dog disputes going to mediation (loud dogs, dog custody battles…etc.). But, those dogs were the subject of the mediations and not participants. It seems like it would be a good fit, with the right cases and the right parties, which would include making sure people aren’t allergic or afraid of dogs. If anyone knows of dogs helping out in mediations (or other dispute resolution processes), I would be very interested in learning about them.

Last 5 posts by Cynthia Alkon

8 thoughts on “Should Mediation go to the Dogs?”

  1. My brilliant friend and Disputing blogger Karl Bayer has this on his website:

    My 13-year-old yellow Lab runs the “My Dog Georgia Mediation Service.” Her service offers cheap rates for people who don’t want to prepare or learn anything from anyone at a mediation. Georgia won’t express strong opinions about the problems with your case or ask people to talk to each other. She just carries offers back and forth between rooms until you get tired … or she does. Cost: $100 and a few dog treats. http://www.karlbayer.com/mediation_lawyers_a.html

  2. Carol, my question was directed more to how dogs might help in the mediation process, not to give up on the process.

    That being said, I do enjoy imaging a dog-run mediation–and wonder if anyone has taken Mr. Bayer up on the offer to have Georgia run a mediation as only a dog could.

  3. We have a plethora of different animals and yes each brings its own quietude in its own way. Dogs most definitely decrease stress levels. Why? They are completely balanced whereas humans in dis-stressed situations are not balanced.

  4. I wish we had therapy dogs at our law school, especially during finals! They would definatly help tone the stress down, especially for the 1L’s who really dont know what to expect from this one exam that is their entire grade. Here are some more articles I found addressing the benefits of animal therapy.

    a story about dogs used to calm children who are the witnesses of crimes:
    http://www.wdrb.com/story/17387074/therapy-dogs-to-keep-kids-company-during-prosecution-interviews

    and a story about the good therapy dogs do in the lives of nursing home patients:
    http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/dogs-115351-dog-therapy.html

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