Children’s Advocacy Center to get new dog for therapy room

Medford, Ore. — The Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County began in the 70’s as a child abuse task force, before becoming its own entity in 1991. Since then, they’ve helped thousands of children who have experienced neglect, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, or drugs. About 7 years ago, a new member came aboard the CAC team, and quickly became an invaluable addition, helping kids in a way that only he can.

“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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