In Colorado, victims and witnesses who might, for various reasons, have trouble sharing details of a crime with a police officer now have another option — Pella, a Labrador-golden retriever mix who is both kid-friendly and judgment-free.
Pella began her service with the Aurora Police Department this summer, and while she doesn’t track down criminals, the hope is she can help put them behind bars.
Her main role is to work with children and developmentally-disabled adults during the beginnings of investigations, providing some comfort and emotional support when they are interviewed by authorities.
“It’s hard for anyone regardless of their state in life, their age, their background, their ethnicity … to talk to police. It’s just an uncomfortable situation. Pella can just help that anxiety to lessen a bit,” Amber Urban, who’s behind the program, told 9 News in Denver.
Urban was working as a school-resource officer when she started pondering how dogs — outside of tracking suspects and detecting drugs — could help the legal system.
Through Paws Assisting the Legal System, she brought Pella to the Aurora Police Department to work with its Crimes Against Children Unit.
The program is similar to the Courthouse Dogs program that is already in place in other cities.
Pella works a lot at SungateKids, a center where forensic interviewers talk to kids and adults who have either witnessed a crime or been victims of one.
“They’re here to talk about things that are traumatic. They, depending on their age, may not have that recognition of it being traumatic, but they feel it,” Urban said.
Children often pet Pella and hold on to her leash while they’re talking.
“…It’s a little bit better of a connection for a lot of kids to be able to interact with the dog who has no judgment, no opinion. The kids see that and they’re like, ‘Wow, they just like me.’”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amber urban, aurora, aurora police department, children, colorado, comfort, courthouse dogs, courts, crimes, developmentally disabled, emotional, golden retriever, labrador retriever, law enforcement, pals, paws assisting the legal system, pella, sungate kids, support, victims, witnesses
Last week’s report about the Ohio dog found with an arrow poking out of both sides of his body got me to wondering about whatever happened to the Georgia dog who, in September, was found in a similar situation.
And, just as I started wondering, the answer came.
In the Ohio case, a 15-year-old German shepherd mix named Hershey disappeared from his home, ran off into the woods and was found 17 days later with an arrow going in one side of his chest and coming out the other.
A veterinarian removed it and he was last reported to be back home with his family and recovering.
In the Georgia case, a police officer discovered a one-year old pit bull mix wandering the streets of Atlanta with an arrow through his head. It had gone in near his left eye and came out behind his right ear, but veterinarians at a VCA Pets Are People Too Veterinary Hospital were able to remove it and treat the dog’s other injuries.
Interest in adopting the dog, dubbed Arrow, was high after news reports about him were aired, according to the Fulton County animal shelter.
After six weeks of recuperation, we’re happy to report, Arrow ended up getting adopted by Kevin Bryant, executive director of Pets Are Loving Support (PALS).
Bryant, whose organization provides pet food and money for veterinary care to people with terminal illnesses and disabilities, emailed me last week to share the news.
He reports that Arrow is doing well, and that both dog and human are helping each other heal: Five months ago, Bryant lost Murphy, his dog of 12 years, to cancer.
Bryant explains his decision to adopt Arrow in this video, produced by the website Fashionado:
Posted by jwoestendiek November 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, animal cruelty, animals, arrow, atlanta, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, fulton county, georgia, kevin bryant, mix, pals, pets, pets are loving support, pets are people too, pit bull, shelter, shot, vca, veterinary