Merlot is a professionally trained assistance dog, suitable for providing quiet companionship to vulnerable individuals in legal settings without causing any disruption. Facility dogs are working dogs that are specially chosen because of their calm demeanour and ability to work in a high-stress environment. When their work day is over they go home with their primary handler and are “off duty”.
*Although facility dogs provide comfort to people from all walks of life during stressful times, children benefit the most from their presence.*
To lend a paw to victims and/or witnesses of crime or trauma to provide emotional support in the justice system.
HOW MERLOT HELPS
When children have to describe a traumatic event in their lives, they often begin to re-experience the emotions and physical reactions they felt when the incident occurred. When this happens, their ability to speak is impaired. A comforting dog by their side makes it possible for many children to feel safe enough to tell adults in the legal system what happened.
During Police Investigations:
In one case, a child witnessed the horrific death of their parent. While waiting with Merlot to be interviewed, the child constantly asked for reassurance that Merlot would remain by their side until the interview was complete.
At the Hospital:
During an RPS investigation, Merlot can attend with children for follow-up exams with our Child Abuse Team of medical professionals. She is also available to assist with vulnerable adult medical examinations on a case by case basis.
When Testifying in Court:
A four-year-old was testifying at court and began to cry. Merlot instinctively knew to snuggle in closer and licked the tears off of the child’s face, allowing the child to complete her testimony.
An adult client Merlot attended to court with stated, “You save people every day.”
Pacific Assistance Dogs (PADS) breeds, raises, and trains fully certified assistance dogs and is an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI). Merlot began training at 8 weeks old and was placed with the Regina Police Service at 2 1/2 years old. By the time a working dog is placed, they know between 30 and 70 commands.