Children's Advocacy Center of SW Michigan welcomes service dog Pawnee

NOW: Children’s Advocacy Center of SW Michigan welcomes service dog Pawnee

ST JOSEPH, Mich. --- At the Children's Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan, children along with their parents come to this center to help battle their experiences with sexual or physical abuse. 

The center has programs that assist with children's traumas and help with forensic interviews as well as with toys and books to bring comfort. 

They also prepare the child to speak on the stand inside of a courtroom and while those programs are doing well, the center has decided it was time to bring in someone different to help break down those emotional walls that therapist has trouble with. 

"Bringing a dog into a therapeutic setting, just to have her here kind of a buffer for kids," said Prevention and Outreach Specialist Allie Kimbler-Campbell.

Meet Pawnee, a chocolate Labrador certified service dog who is now the newest part of the canine advocacy program. Allie is her handler. 

"Kids and dogs have this attraction to each other and dogs have a unique way of breaking peoples walls down," says Campbell.

Pawnee will have multiple positions; she will be a greeter at the front door, she will be allowed to go into the therapeutic session rooms with children and offer emotional support for parents. 

Her training includes being allowed to go inside the courtroom to help kids. 

"Here at our agency, she can potently go into courthouse sit with kids in the courtroom if needed," says Campbell.

Pawnee will use her training and start working with children next week.

Jamie Rossow Executive Director of the Advocacy Center says Pawnee will be working with a lot of children.

”Typically we have five-ten kids here a day and then when she goes into the school system with Allie for the prevention training 25 kids in a class there are a lot of kids she interacts with," says Rossow. 

Cambell believes Pawnee will bring a new light to the center. 

“It's easier to remember a cute chocolate lab than one of us in the community, so hopefully she gets more of a connection in the community and helping out the greater mission on reducing our mission of child abuse in Berrien County or in SW Michigan."

If you would like to donate towards Pawnee, the center has created a wish list through Amazon. All items go towards Pawnee. 

Pawnee's  Amazon Wish List

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