Chunk, the 2-year-old Therapy Dog, Bringing Love and Comfort to Witnesses & Children at the Lee County Justice Center
The Lee County District Attorney’s Office has a first of it’s kind in their office.
A 2-year-old therapy dog named Chunk.
Brought on in October 2107 to help children and victims before testifying in court or having to give their statements.
“He’s been a blessing to us and to Lee County,” said Brandon Hughes, Lee County District Attorney.
Hughes said he saw a story on a therapy dog in another DA’s office and that sparked his interest.
“When I started looking into it and watched the story, I started researching it and saw the purpose of the dog. It instantly made sense and it clicked and I said we need something like this,” said Hughes.
He’s a comfort dog and helps the Lee County District Attorney’s Office put witnesses at ease. He’s already been there for children during interviews at the Child Advocacy Center.
“When someone has to talk about a case, whether it’s a victim or witness, it’s not always comfortable, especially to talk to 18 strangers in a grand jury or 12 strangers in a trial. So, just to have something that says, hey you have Chunk by your side, he’s going to be with you, hangout with you and something to take their mind off that thing they have to talk about,” said Hughes.
But, Chunk doesn’t even realize he’s working. He’s just having fun and when the day is over, he heads home with Asst. District Attorney, Melissa Gowan.
This is Chunk’s fourth placement so Gowan explains he has some abandonment issues, just like some of the children he comforts.
“His behavior is the same as some of these children moving home to home and children who have been abused. Chunk shares some of the same background some of these kids do and having the dog go through the same situation he has, may put them at ease,” said Gowan.
So, Chunk’s job comforting children and other participants in stressful situations has not only helped people, it’s also helped this lovable dog find purpose and heal as well.
He’s a wonderful dog and he’s doing what he was put on this Earth to do,” said Hughes.
Hughes adds if it wasn’t for the Opelika Rotary Club, Chunk wouldn’t be here today. They were the ones who saw the need as well and offered the grant money to train and place Chunk in the DA’s office.
And even though Chunk is helping out at the Justice Center, they say Chunk is more than that. They want Chunk to be part of the community as well. Visiting schools, special needs programs, and more.
If you would like Chunk to come visit your organization or school call the Lee County District Attorney’s Office at (334) 737-3446.