LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. — The Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has been approved for a facility dog through Canine Helpers Allow More Possibilities (CHAMP).
CHAMP is a non-profit that places service dogs with people who have disabilities and facility dogs with professionals who utilize their skills.
Facility dogs are trained to be comfortable and provide comfort in a variety of settings.
In healthcare, a dog can assist in occupational, physical or speech therapy sessions.
Or in a courthouse, a sweet, approachable dog can help abused children feel more at ease when talking about traumatic experiences.
“When children are involved in the court process, that can be an extremely traumatic experience to take the stand and sometimes confront their accuser,” said Mike Wood, Lincoln County prosecutor.
Wood said crimes against children is a major issue in Lincoln County. The dog will be there to comfort those children, but adults can use the dog, too.
“The kids have to talk about this horrific abuse. They’ll almost be talking to the dog instead of talking to the attorney," said Pam Budke, CHAMP executive director. "All of a sudden, they’ll find their voice and they’ll be able to tell their story. The dog makes a huge difference.”
Wood doesn't know what dog they're getting or when.
After someone gets approved, CHAMP works to find the right dog to place with them. The process could take several months.
The St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has had a facility dog, Sully, for the past few years.
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