Service dog helps comfort child abuse victims
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There's a new counselor, of sorts, on board at Child Protect in Montgomery. The children's advocacy center was recently able to add an extra helping hand to assist child abuse victims--and that help comes in furry form. Their new employee is actually a dog, named Bob.
Bob is a therapeutic service dog, trained specifically to work with kids. He is helping bring a smile to children dealing with unimaginable. With one look, it's easy to see why Bob is such a welcome sight inside the halls of Child Protect.
"The kids are already nervous. You know, they have been through something very traumatic. When they come in here and see Bob, they say, 'You guys have a Puppy?!'" said Cristie De La Vega. Cristie is a Child Advocate at Child Protect and is also Bob's handler. He lives with her, and because he is a service dog, he is able to go everywhere with her. Every morning, he wakes up, dons his special vest, and goes to work with her.
Child Protect works with law enforcement agencies, conducting interviews and counseling children when there are allegations of sexual or physical abuse. In most cases, it's difficult to get a child to open up and recount what happened to them.
Read more from our NBC affiliate WSFA.