Passing of beloved therapy dog leaves JLAP staff ‘heartbroken’

The Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program has announced that Kirby, its beloved therapy dog who was a staple at many legal events around the state, died Jan. 29 after a brief illness. He was 14.

A black-and-white pointer mix owned by JLAP deputy director Loretta Oleksy, Kirby had been a member of the JLAP family since 2014. He often accompanied Oleksy to presentations and support group meetings where in his purple JLAP vest. He welcomed everyone with unconditional love.

“People would come up to him and, literally, it would change them,” Linda Olvey, clinical case manager at JLAP, said of the comfort Kirby provided.

The happy canine became so well-known that organizations and individuals putting on events for the legal community would specifically request his presence. Olesky told the Indiana Court Times in a May 30, 2017 article that Kirby helped break down the stigma that individuals have about seeking information on mental health and addiction.

With him beside her, people overcame any hesitation they felt about approaching the JLAP table.

“We know many people have welcomed Kirby into their hearts at various court events,” JLAP said in a statement. “He has touched countless individuals who needed extra emotional support or just a friendly hug or kiss.”

Olvey described Kirby as approachable, never meeting a stranger and always remembering his job was to be petted and loved. Not only was he popular at events, he was a source of joy at the JLAP office.

“We are heartbroken,” Olvey said.

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