Community gathers to honor courthouse service dog

Yeager, who has had Lincoln as a house dog since retiring a few years ago, said his list of foods includes intermittent hearing, pain in his teeth and throughout his body, and the loss of almost all of his vision.

About two weeks ago Yeager put him down after realizing how much pain he was in.

“We just want to make sure he’s out of pain while he’s still so happy and people can see him like this and people can see him and love him and give him lots of treats,” Yeager explained.

In his capacity as court dog, Lincoln was used by the prosecution to offer comfort to witnesses and victims of crime. His infectious energy and personality brought relief to those experiencing anxiety, emotional distress and upheaval.

As one of the state’s first court dogs, Yeager said Lincoln left quite a legacy. And its influence was felt beyond Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties, which make up the 5th Judicial Circuit.

“He has worked with many people across the state and has brought great joy to everyone who meets him,” she said.

During his tenure, Lincoln was also often used by social services.

Isabel Barrientos, who worked with Lincoln in the New Mexico Department of Children, Youth and Families, said he was often used to comforting children who were taken away from home.

“Whenever I brought children into the office after a move, the children cried, they were upset. I would take Lincoln to the visiting room to see them and they would instantly forget those bad moments, and that helped me excel at my job,” she said.

Barrientos, like many others, said she was sad to know Lincoln will be gone but glad he was spared further pain.

“I know he will be very happy where he will be and I can’t wait to see him again one day,” she said.