New dog on the job provides comfort to child victims
On October 4, the much anticipated new employee at the London courthouse arrived. Merel, an 18-month-old
Labrador/Bernese Mountain Dog cross, is part of a national service-dog program that specially trains dogs to help ease the stress of court proceedings for young, vulnerable witnesses.
Merel will be partnered with Child Witness Project (CWP) program co-ordinator, Rachel Crawford. The team has just come together to start the final stages of their training and are expected to be working on site by the end of the year. According to Crawford, the clinic receives about 400 referrals a year. Merel will likely work with 100 to 150 children annually.
Merel is one of just 17 canines working as facility dogs in Canada. Most of these specially trained dogs are in service in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Only two have been placed in Ontario.
A year ago, the CKC Foundation awarded money to the London Family Court's Child Witness Project
(CWP) to assist with the costs associated with acquiring Merel. The CKC Foundation’s Pawsitivity Grants
are awarded with the primary objective of enhancing the health and welfare of dogs in Canada by supporting education on the diverse and beneficial role of dogs in society.
Recently, the Foundation donated $2,900 to fund additional training and dogs. The CKC Foundation is pleased to have played a small role in providing service dogs to help children navigate such a traumatic time in their lives.
To find out how you can support the CKCF’s goals with a donation, and receive a tax-deductible receipt, please contact click here