“Sometimes kids don’t want to talk to me,” Toni Richmond says, “so they’ll talk to Jack and they’ll tell Jack what’s going on with them.
Toni Richmond is a Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist who spent 16 years working with kids at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County. It’s difficult work, that can be made a bit easier with some help.
“I guess he’s my therapist,” Richmond adds.
7 years ago that help came in the form of an easy-going Labradoodle named Jack.
“Our executive director was saying ‘you know I think it would be really good if we could have a therapy dog,'” Richmond says.
At 2 months old Jack began working alongside Toni, becoming a certified therapy dog when he turned 1.
“Sometimes they’ll whisper in his ear and just say what’s going on and Jack likes to sit with them,” Richmond says.
He’s been a calming presence for countless kids at the center, a presence that was missed when Toni and Jack left in 2014. Now the center is working to get a new program assistance dog.
“I’ve been telling my clients I’m getting a dog, I’m getting a dog and I think even the clients are really excited.” Catherine Zern says.
Therapist Catherine Zern started making some phone calls, applying to be among the first to receive a program assistance dog from Dogs for the Deaf. After an extensive vetting process, she was approved.
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