Robin Connell is the executive director of The Child Safety Center of White County in Searcy, AR. She recently returned to Duo to speak at a small gathering and share her experiences over the past few months with her facility dog, Jake.
She talked about how in his first year, Jake has served 297 children in more than 375 different forensic interview sessions. During those interviews, he provides comfort and calm while the children testify about abuse they have experienced.
Says CSC staff member and forensic interviewer Darby Gaines:
“For numerous reasons, an interviewer cannot comfort the child with words or touch. I can’t tell the child it’s not their fault or that they are going to be okay. I can’t give them a hug or hold their hand as they tell about their experience. But Jake can. Knowing that the child is getting the reassurance and support they need in those tough moments has been invaluable in making my job bearable. When Jake puts his paw on their leg or nuzzles his nose in their lap, when he lets them flip his ear back and forth out of nervous energy or lets out a subtle snore to remind them he is there, that child experiences unconditional love. That child experiences hope.”