Pono, Hawaii’s first official courthouse dog, died June 8. She was 10 years old.
Pono, a Labrador retriever, began working with the Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney in June 2011, and maintained her post until succumbing to lymphoma in June at a local animal hospital. She was surrounded by her handler, Dennis Dunn, director of the Victim Witness Assistance Program, and his wife, Lisa.
During her seven years of service, she assisted hundreds of crime victims, witnesses and their families.
“Pono’s greatest asset was her love for children and their love for her,” said prosecuting attorney Keith Kaneshiro in a statement. “She was a courthouse companion who gave countless kids the comfort and confidence they needed to testify in grand jury rooms and courtrooms. With Pono at their side, these young people mustered the strength necessary to help our office successfully prosecute people guilty of all sorts of crimes. There is no question Pono helped make Honolulu a safer place to live.”
Born Oct. 13, 2007 in New Zealand, Pono was trained by Assistance Dogs of Hawaii on Maui.
The office plans to acquire another courthouse dog from Assistance Dogs of Hawaii, which will join the team in August.
A tribute for Pono will be held at noon, July 12, at Mission Memorial Auditorium.