Today, Oct. 2, marks the one-year work anniversary of Burke, the CAPS facility dog.
In 2017, CAPS acquired the new furry team member from Canine Companions for Independence, an organization that trains service dogs, hearing dogs, skilled companion dogs and facility dogs. Burke is a facility dog which means he was bred and trained specifically to enhance the professional environment. When he has his vest is on, he is working and does not freely roam around the building. Without his vest, he becomes playful and is much less restricted.
Burke’s key mission is to provide support for children when they are in a courtroom setting or being interviewed in stressful situations. He gives children the confidence and strength they need to testify. His warm demeanor has helped children feel more comfortable answering questions and feel protected during interviews.
“He has sat with over 60 kiddos in court,” said CASA Program Assistant and trained facility dog handler Regina Hauptli. “He has been to court every week except for the two weeks that I took vacation. Additionally, he has been helpful to adult clients and case managers who stop and take the time to pet and hug Burke before and after their hearings.”
Burke’s is truly an asset to the mission of CAPS, giving comfort and a sense of security when needed. “I have watched older kids cry during their hearings and Burke tends to nuzzle in closer to them,” said Hauptli.
There’s no doubt Burke plays a huge role in bringing comfort to kids experiencing very difficult circumstances. He has been received warmly by CAPS staff and is welcome (and sometimes even requested) by the court. Hauptli notes that even Magistrate Deborah Domine “not only has a bowl for his ice. but now has treats in a jar on her bench.”