Every day, golden retriever Peace puts on his collar and gets to work. The highly trained therapy dog is the newest employee of the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse in Poughkeepsie.
“When kids come here, they may very well be talking about the most horrific thing that’s ever happened to them,” says Kimberly Haight, executive director of the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
What You Need To Know
- The Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse finally has a therapy dog
- When law enforcement or CPS needs to interview children, the dog sits in to comfort them
- The next step for the dog will be to accompany children on the witness stand in court to keep them calm
When children need to be interviewed by CPS or law enforcement, Peace is there to provide comfort.
“As much as we try to make it family friendly and child friendly, it’s still a really scary thing to have to do. So we want to provide every support that we can to try and help those children heal,” Haight said.
After work, Peace goes home with Haight, who has a one-year-old daughter. She says she has to keep his skills sharp, and the training doesn’t stop just because the work day ends.
“When he’s with me at night or on the weekends, we also practice additional skills, like getting on and off the elevator,” Haight said.
The community stepped in to raise the $10,000 they needed for the dog, and as much he helps the children, he also helps the staff.
“The work that we do is hard,” Haight said. “I’m talking to kids who have suffered abuse. [It] can be challenging, but knowing that there are so many people out there in the community that want to help us and believe in the work that we’re doing, it makes all the difference in the world for us.”
Peace will stay with the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse until he retires. The next step for him will be to go to court to keep children calm on the witness stand.