Meet Tibet

Florida’s First Courthouse Dog

tibet - tampa's courthouse dogTeam Tibet works in Hillsborough County. Brenda Kocher is a Guardian ad Litem volunteer who was trained as Tibet’s handler by Canine Companions for Independence who generously provided this highly trained canine free of charge. Tibet provides comfort and solace to the abused, abandoned, and neglected children in Hillsborough County as they face the uncertainty of Dependency court. She assists children as they participate in hearings, forensic medical exams, sexual assault exams, and trials. We are proud to support the ongoing operational expenses of Team Tibet and the incredible work that they will do for our children, but we cannot do it without support from our community partners.


Tibet – “Did you Know?”


  • Tibet is a graduate of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), the country’s foremost assistance dog organization with 5 national campuses. Tibet is a graduate of the Southeastern Regional campus – or the Anheuser Busch-Sea World Campus.
  • Tibet’s trainer was an Orca whale trainer at Sea World prior to working for CCI. She now resides in Seattle, WA where she trains horses and dogs.
  • All CCI puppies are bred and born in the state of California. The headquarters of CCI is in Santa Rosa, CA. The puppies are sent to the regional campuses at 8 weeks of age where they are picked up by puppy-raising families. The puppy raisers socialize the puppies with many types of people (developmentally disabled, physically disabled), and with other animals. Puppy raisers teach their pups 30 commands before they are turned into advanced training at 18 months.
  • Most CCI dogs are 75% Labrador Retriever and 25% Golden Retriever. Occasionally CCI will graduate a pure-bred Golden Retriever. This DNA “recipe” makes for the most successful working dog.
  • Tibet’s carefully controlled DNA is just as important as her extensive training in terms of how calm and controlled she can remain in emotionally charged environments.
  • Tibet is worth an estimated $50,000.00 due to her controlled breeding and extensive training. Tibet was provided free of charge by Canine Companions for Independence.
  • Tibet is insured for $1 million liability by Canine Companions for Independence. This strongly reflects how much CCI is confident that they are providing the safest animal possible to traumatized children.
  • Tibet is on a strict diet – food is measured out twice a day and NO SNACKS!
  • Tibet graduated at 57.8 pounds and cannot vary in her weight more than 5 pounds in either direction.
  • Team Tibet must report in to CCI annually for testing and public access recertification.
  • Tibet can turn light switches on and off, open a drawer (with a tug strap), close a drawer, and push a pressure plate for an automatic door opener for the disabled. Tibet can pick up items and deliver them to you.
  • Tibet’s sister Tate works for the Napa CA District Attorney’ s office.
  • Tibet’s sister Tulah works as a victim advocacy dog in Oklahoma.
  • Only 40 percent of dogs entered into the rigorous CCI training program get to wear the blue graduate vest.

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