News & Events

Maverick, a therapy K9 brings HOPE to Meridian

Published: Feb. 4, 2023 at 7:09 PM MST
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) – News 11′s Cara Shirley got to sit down with Maverick today. He is a crisis response dog with an organization called HOPE.

Maverick is a collie who’s been certified as a crisis response canine. He works through the organization, HOPE – Animal-Assisted Crisis Response.

Maverick has been deployed through HOPE to different crisis areas all over the country.

Most recently, the tornadoes that struck Georgia earlier in 2023. It was in a shelter there he met a little boy that gave Maverick a teddy bear because he wanted to show Maverick the same love Maverick had shown him.

When a mass shooting happened at a Collierville TN Kroger, the grocery store chain brought in Maverick to help bring a sense of calm and peace to an environment that was full of fear, heartache and heightened emotions. Maverick was a calming resource to employees in addition to professional counselors.

Maverick also made history in Nashville by being the first therapy dog to sit with the little girl while she testified in open court. For 30 minutes Maverick sat in the witness box beside the emotional girl while she rested her hand on his head, stroking his fur.

Maverick and his owner, Rita Doyle, are new to the Meridian area. They hope to be able to provide the same therapy and support to local organizations, schools, hospitals or shelters that they have provided to other areas.

Doyle went on to say people just love to talk to Maverick because when you look in his eyes you just know he is listening. It’s like he’s an active listener turning his head and he’ll even look like he’s smiling at you.

News 11′s Cara Shirley can personally say just sitting there, petting Maverick, made her feel a little more peaceful.

If your business or organization would like more information on how you can take advantage of, Maverick, an amazing resource you can email his owner at

Thank you donors!

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