BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– Inside the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office every day, victims relive their experiences, some traumatic, so prosecutors can help bring justice. But telling those stories is now a little easier thanks to a therapy dog named Lola.
Over the last few years, service animals have seen a steady rise in popularity, not to mention effectiveness, from personal service animals, to law enforcement, to hospitals, to everyday life.
Research has proven that service animals can reduce stress in people dealing with very real world issues and challenges, according to 5th Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown.
The three-year old Australian Shephard, Lola came to the JD5 Team via Paws for LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers), earlier this year.
The organization based in Buena Vista trains these dogs to help victims of crimes.
“We are very excited to have Lola on our team, and announce this first of its kind program here to help our community in some of the toughest times they deal with,” said Brown. “Not every crime has a clear cut answer, and Lola provides that bridge to help our most vulnerable deal with these tough situations and move on in life.”
Lola’s handler Nancy Abila serves as the Victim Services Coordinator in the district attorney’s Lake County Office. She received special training and has made Lola a part of her own family.
“She is a very smart dog, and seems to enjoy her job,” Abila Told CBS4.
The pair is already seeing positive results and Lola is gaining additional training and certifications to one day allow her to sit with victims as they testify inside the courtroom, something the state legislator created new laws allowing in recent years.
“This is a game changer for us and we are already getting calls from other DAs in the state wanting to bring therapy dogs into their offices to help better serve victims.”