Dogged Justice: A Courthouse Dogs® Podcast

Images of Colleen Phelan and Jim Ha, collaged with the podcast logo of a dog wearing headphones and speaking into a mic

Dogged Justice is an educational podcast focused on sharing the positive impact that facility dogs make in the criminal justice system. Hosted by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Dr. Jim Ha and Courthouse Facility Dog Handler Colleen Phelan, each episode will share a new aspect of the world-wide work of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation. Weekly 30 – 45 minute episodes will bring you insightful interviews from members of the courthouse facility dog community and deeper dives into cutting-edge canine science. 

To hear the origin of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation, check out Episodes 1 & 2 with Ellen O’Neill-Stephens.

We are grateful for the continued support from Melanie Richards creating and maintaining our website.



  • Episode 19 – Upcoming Virtual Symposium on Responding to Incidents of Mass Victimization

    with Dr Jim Ha with Colleen Phelan, Kim Gramlich and Tamara Martin

    This episode spotlights the upcoming training opportunity presented by the Courthouse Dogs Foundation on Responding To Incidents of Mass Victimization. Colleen & Jim welcome back Kim Gramlich & Tamara Martin presenters at this symposium to give you a preview on what to expect, and help identify if this is the right symposium for you to attend. 

    Click here to learn more or register for this virtual symposium.

    Episode Highlights 

    1:00 – Personal update on Jim 

    2:15 – January 20th, 2021 Courthouse Dogs Foundation Virtual Symposium on Responding to Incidents of Mass Victimization 

    3:30 – Kim Gramlich shares the roles she fills when there is a crisis

    6:00 – Tamara Martin from Alabama is also back to share her experience in these events

    8:15 – What Jim has observed following these events 

    10:45 – Creating best practices for response to these events 

    13:25 – Being prepared and mentally focused as a handler for a Mass Casualty Response 

    15:45 – Defining the role the dogs play at these events 

    19:00 – Managing the dogs as a resource to ensure they have down time

    22:30 – Asking the right questions to prioritize who needs help

    25:00 – Jim shares what to expect when attending the symposium 

    28:15 – Colleen recognizes how responding has impacted her

    30:15 – The flexibility, change of routine, and requests that come with these circumstances

    34:00 – What you know vs what may be asked of you 

    36:00 – The emotional experiences that you will carry with you 

    37:30 – Preparing for these incidents to limit trauma inside the community

    39:30 – A hope that Kim has for the future 

    42:00 –  Keeping in mind the purpose for the dogs 

    43:30 – Knowing when the time to say “no” is appropriate

    46:00 – Being prepared to say “yes” or “no” in advance

    47:30 – Kim’s experience with Caber in less than ideal circumstance

    49:45 – Willow impacts a man amidst the Route 91 incident 

    54:00 – Caber was exactly what was needed 

    57:00 – The dogs know the right way to respond, even when we don’t

    58:00 – Jim reminds us the training and problem solving will kick in

    1:00:00 – Details on the upcoming symposium

  • Episode 18 – Puppy Raising With Kathy Zastrow

    with Colleen Phelan and Kathy Zastrow

    We’ve interviewed puppy breeders, trainers, and handlers now it’s time to get the perspective from a puppy raiser. Kathy Zastrow with Canine Companions For Independence joins us to share her unique perspective on raising a puppy before handing it off to the training process. She shares so many surprises and family lessons learned as well as some of her memorable moments.

    Episode Highlights 

    1:10 – Meet Kathy Zastrow puppy raiser for & Northwest Region Board Member with Canine Companions for Independence 

    2:45 – Volunteering for a new puppy with a catch! 

    4:15 – Kathy’s children learn a valuable lesson 

    7:00 – Family lessons learned raising puppies 

    10:30 – The kids continuing the legacy

    11:30 – Introducing the program to Aiden the first puppy Kathy raised

    15:00 – A trip to the grocery store wins over the principal 

    17:00 – Jared takes the dog on the school bus 

    19:30 – 5 types of Canine Companions for Independence service dogs

    21:30 – Supporting Veterans with PSTD

    24:00 – What the process for becoming a puppy raiser looks like

    27:30 – The behaviors and training these puppies have 

    30:30 – The importance of socialization

    32:00 – The funnest place Kathy has socialized a puppy

    34:00 – Raising male puppies

    37:00 – Placing a dog in the right job based on their personality 

    39:30 – What the transition from training to working looks like for the dogs

    42:45 – Observing the unexpected path the dogs take

    45:00 – Watching Monty work as a facility dog

    48:15 – A dog goes down an unexpected path 

    53:00 – Prairie unexpectedly becomes the star of the class

    56:30 – Colleen shares on Blake’s headstrong moments

    59:30 – Kathy reflects on past placements & future plans

    Links To References

    Canine Companions For Independence



  • Episode 17 – The Many Aspects Of Breeding with Marina Phillips

    with Dr Jim Ha with Colleen Phelan and Marina Phillips

    While you may have assumptions on how working dogs are bred, there is still plenty to learn. Marina Phillips the Breeding Coop Administrator for Assistance Dogs International North America Regional helps answer many questions on this topic. Jim shares why the terminology is so important when discussing these topics as well. 

    Join us next month for the November Virtual Race & Walk for Gratitude to raise funds to support this program.

    Episode Highlights 

    2:00 – Meet Marina Phillips a Breeding Coop Administrator for Assistance Dogs International 

    2:30 – How the programs work together 

    4:30 – Breeding Cooperative accreditation & member schools

    6:00 – Sharing resources in breeding

    8:00 – How the breeding cooperative began 

    11:30 – Marina’s journey to the breeding cooperative

    16:30 – The many aspects of breeding 

    19:00 – Tracking the window of ovulation 

    20:00 – Development of the colony of 

    22:30 – The ways genetic testing is leveraged 

    24:00 – Definitions for naming of dog characteristics 

    28:00 – Developing systems to screen & develop for training

    30:00 – Formalizing terminology to work together for best possible outcomes

    32:00 – Micro Behaviors seen to recognize long term outcomes 

    34:00 – Training handlers to spot the behaviors that benefit the dogs

    36:30 – Marina shares how feedback influences what works well

    39:30 – Behavior checklists and how facility dogs connect 

    42:00 – Colleen reflects on the characteristics of Blake


    Links To References

    Assistance Dogs International North America Regional Chapter 

    International Working Dog Registry 

  • Episode 16 – Breeding & Caring For The Puppies That Become Working Dogs

    with Dr Jim Ha with Colleen Phelan and Wendy Clock Johnson

    How many loads of laundry does it take to raise a puppy? Who takes care of the pregnant dogs? How are the dogs paired for breeding? Colleen & Jim are joined by Breeder Caretaker Wendy Clock Johnson from Canine Companions for Independence to answer all our puppy breeding and raising questions. They also discuss why this process is so important for successful working dogs. 


  • Episode 15 – Minimizing Separation Anxiety & What’s Next On The Podcast

    with Dr Jim Ha and Colleen Phelan

    Colleen and Jim reflect on what has happened on the podcast so far and share how it’s already benefiting the community. They also share what you can expect on upcoming episodes. Jim also shares his best tips for minimizing separation anxiety when you leave your dog home.

    Join us next month for the November Virtual Race & Walk for Gratitude to raise funds to support this program.


  • Episode 14 – Advocating & Teaming Up In Alabama (Part 2)

    with Colleen Phelan and The Alabama Crew - Ann Lee, Jana Thomason, Patricia Falcon Tamera Martin and Tonya Willingham (pictured)

    Continuing last week’s episode the Alabama network shares a wide range of experiences with the facility dogs they work with. Colleen also learns more about each of the facility dogs similar personality traits. We wrap up this 2 part series talking about the value of these networks in the community. Colleen provides next steps if you want to see a program like this in your community.

  • Episode 13 – Advocating & Teaming Up In Alabama (Part 1)

    with Colleen Phelan and The Alabama Crew - Ann Lee, Janet Thomason, Patricia Falcon Tamera Martin (pictured) and Tonya Willingham (

    Colleen kicks off this two part episode with 4 members of the Alabama facility dog community. Ann, Jana, Patricia,Tamera and Tonya share how they came together to launch their statewide efforts to benefit the communities they serve. This episode discusses how both the National Children’s Advocacy Center and the H.E.R.O. Program were founded, and who they serve.


  • Episode 12 – Facility Dogs Building Confidence Down Under

    with Dr Jim Ha and Colleen Phelan with Jane Kefford and Julie Morrison

    Colleen and Jim learn the unique ways that their peers in Australia have used facility dogs to build confidence throughout the justice system. Jane Kefford Client Services Manager for Assistance Dogs Of Australia and Julie Morrison Victim Engagement Coordinator for the Victoria Office Of Public Prosecutions and handler of Lucy / Suzy join us this week.

  • Episode 11 – Court Decisions That Support This Work With Ellen O’Neill-Stephens

    with Dr Jim Ha with Colleen Phelan and Ellen O'Neill Stephens

    This episode covers detailed and graphic topics related to the sexual abuse cases that facility dogs have been involved with. Ellen O’Neill Stephens provides a deep dive into the groundbreaking case that David Crenshaw and Rosie discussed on our last episode. We also talk about the appellate court process, and other cases that have impacted the use of facility dogs throughout the United States. 


  • Episode 10 – A Facility Dog’s Problem Solving Skills With Dr David Crenshaw

    with Dr Jim Ha with Colleen Phelan and Dr David Crenshaw

    Dr David Crenshaw of the Children’s Home Of Poughkeepsie joins Colleen & Dr Jim for a lively discussion about the various ways his organization uses facility dogs. He shares how their facility dogs have used their problem solving skills to support, comfort, and a good laugh. Also, Jim provides a lot of insight into why problem solving is so important for the dogs chosen to serve. 


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