BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (KMOX) – Using therapy dogs to comfort child abuse victims is what an advocacy center in McLean County has in mind for their newest recruit.
Joch, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever joined the McLean County Children’s Advocacy Center on Monday to help their youngest child abuse victims cope with stress. He was trained at Support Dogs Inc. in St. Louis.
Stephanie Jewett, a family advocate and one of Joch’s handlers says the dog is already making a significant impact on the victims.
“So far they loved him. One child actually, she met him before the interview and then requested him again after the interview to kinda help calm her down, so we’ve seen a tremendous effect its had on the children,” she says.
Jewett mentions Joch may even accompany the children during their testimonies in court.
“We’re slowly transitioning him into the courtroom, introducing him to what it looks like. He has to be able to stay in a down position quietly for up to two hours because he going to be with the child while they testify,” she says.
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