Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Looking through the window of the Washington County attorney’s office, one would see mostly what they’d expect: office clerks sit behind desks, meticulously organized filing cabinets line the room, and florescent lights illuminate from a tiled ceiling.
Walking in the door, however, they’re often greeted by a surprise: Theo, a mini golden doodle, the dog of County Attorney John Gish.
“My wife bought a puppy in the fall of last year while I was deployed, as kind of a means to be there for our children,” Gish said. “Some time after I got back … I was expecting to meet with a child that was a victim of sexual abuse. I thought maybe bringing a puppy would be a nice distraction for the kid, and Theo was amazing. The child really relaxed and was comforted.”
Since then, Theo has become a regular at the office, clocking in almost every day.
“He’s not a therapy animal, that doesn’t mean he can’t help people just naturally,” Gish said. “I bring him in for myself and also everybody in the courthouse loves seeing him. But I do have him here especially when I’m meeting with victims. There have been a few occasions where my wife has brought him in during trials.”
Whatever the dog’s job on a given day, Gish said Theo was a natural.
“He can be a little skittish, but he really warms up to folks and does really well,” he said. “He doesn’t shed … he’s hypoallergenic so if somebody has an allergy to dogs, we have not had any issues.”
Admittedly, having a canine in the office can be distracting at times, but Gish said that was by design.
“He is a very welcome distraction,” he said. “Getting outside is good for me as well. In this kind of line of work, it’s nice to have this sort of distraction … he’s a great dog.”