Therapy dog helps child abuse victims in Thurston County

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ASTRO2LACEY — Getting up on the witness stand and testifying in court is a scary experience for anyone, let alone a child.

“You imagine them having to get up and talk about the details of their abuse in open court in front of the perpetrator with many people there listening. It’s extremely stressful,” Tambra Donohue, director of the Monarch Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center, said Friday.

Now there is a furry new friend to help child victims through that process. Astro is a 2-year-old lab/retriever mix that was donated to the Monarch Center from an assistance dog organization in Hawaii.

Astro now sits with victims during their initial abuse interviews, and goes along with them during physical exams and counseling sessions.

“They can hold his leash, they can turn and keep eye contact and know there is a calm, kind compassionate canine at their side,” said nurse Lisa Wahl.

Therapy dogs like Astro are becoming more common in courthouse settings. Both King and Snohomish counties have them, and prosecutors say it makes trying an abuse case much easier.

“Studies have shown the dog being relaxed and calm will actually calm down a child or adult victim as well,” said Thurston County deputy prosecutor Joe Jackson.

It allows victims to disclose details of what happened to them, and hold abusers accountable.

Astro is almost done with his courthouse training and will soon be allowed in the witness stand, helping the tiniest victims through this traumatic time.

“You can see how children respond to him that even the most specialized person working with kids can`t offer that. It’s enhanced all of our jobs and we’ve been really grateful to have him here,” said Donohue.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

1 Comment

  • BrittanyRVibbert

    I­m mak­ing ­over $­1­3k a month working ­part tim­e. I kept hea­ring other p­eople tell me­ how much m­oney they can ma­ke­ online­ so I d­ecide­d to look int­o­ it. Wel­, it was all tru­e and ha­s totally ch­anged­ my life. ­This is­ wha­t I do,

    ➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜ W­­­W­­W.ZEE­­­­­­J­­OB.C­­­O­M

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.