ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) – She’s a sweet face, that could be someone’s saving grace.
“Vera is an English style Golden Retriever,” said Sarah Sorensen, Canines for Comfort. “She comes from working lines which means that her relatives have also done service or therapy type of work. Since genetics play such a large part, if the dog is able to perform that task, we found it very important to get a dog from working lines. Some of the characteristics that make her fit to do this job is; she is very calm, she’s very laid back, but she is also very attentive. Once she starts working, she becomes very focused. She is also incredibly obedient. She wants to please us. She wants to do what makes people happy.”
Vera is in training right now to be a therapy dog with Escanaba Depart of Public Safety.
“Well Sarah reached out to me with the idea,” said D/Sgt. Tabitha Marchese, Escanaba Department of Public Safety. “We’ve been using Blue which is the canine that they use at the Delta Child Advocacy Center here in Delta County. Blue has made huge strides with children that have gone through traumatic events of physical and sexual abuse or witness of other events that happen in their life. We’ve seen so much change in those kids and them being able to disclose what happened to them or what they witnessed and their anxiety levels with having to speak with somebody, they are a lot calmer and we’re hoping it would have that same effect on adult victims. So, Sarah reached out to me asking if we would be interested in taking part in that to see if we can also help adult victims to tell their story a little bit easier maybe so that we can figure out what happened and what steps we need to take from there.”
It’s a job to help the victim through the whole process.
“One of the goals we have with Vera and Blue both is we want the dog to be able to be with the victim from the time they report the crime, until law enforcement or the forensic interviewer, all the way through the process of it,” said Sorenson. “If they have to go to the hospital, in the case that they have to testify in court. We want the dog to be able to be with them through that entire process so that they are not going through that alone.”
Now seven months old, Vera is expected to be done with training and serving on all four paws at the end of May with D/Sgt. Marchese.
“I’m very excited,” said D/Sgt. Marchese. “I’m looking forward to seeing how many people we can reach and really how we can help them through the healing process of what happened to them.”
To follow along on Vera and Blue’s journey, click here.