A Day in the Life of our Facility Dog: Braelynn
November 18, 2022
Hi there, my name is Braelynn! I am a 4-year-old Golden Retriever and Labrador mix, and I am a Facility Dog at Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center.
At Dee Norton, I work with a lot of great people whose mission is to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families. We are a safe place to turn to when there is a concern about child abuse. My job is to be there for anyone who walks on two legs through our lobby door. I have one coworker who looks like me; his name is Viper, and he likes American Cheese. Viper is the only other one at Dee Norton that has four legs like me.
My handler’s name is Annalise. Viper has one too, and her name is Lexi. They say at Dee Norton we are here to help kids who have been through hard things. We provide a child-friendly and trauma-informed space. They’ve been saying that since joining the staff after graduating from Canine Companions, an accredited dog school designated by Assistance Dogs International.
We’ve been working hard this year. Last year, we helped more than 800 children!
When I have my vest on, that means I am working. Normally, I am in a therapy session, but recently I’ve also started to be in forensic interviews. Forensic interviews are when the little humans first come in and talk about what happened to them. I’m there to help them feel safe and talk about the hard stuff. I can tell when they are having big feelings. I get lots of belly rubs and head pats.
This one time I was in a therapy appointment with Grainger*, a little human, and he started to get quiet. He was talking just a moment before. So, I sat up from the floor and I climbed up on the couch with him. I snuggled close so he knew that he wasn’t alone. When I put my head on his human paw, Grainger took a deep breath. He started to talk again about how he has been feeling. He said even though it can still be hard to talk about what happened, it’s not so bad when he is at Dee Norton. He also said I help keep him happy when he’s there. That made my tail wag a lot!
Viper and I are proud to go to work every day and help kids feel better.
*Names and identifying features have been altered to protect the identity of our clients.