Facility dog will comfort people in courtrooms in New Hanover and Pender Counties

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A few months ago, we brought you the story of a program that pairs assistance dogs with victims of sexual assault in Bladen, Columbus, and Brunswick Counties.

Now, a similar program will be coming to New Hanover and Pender Counties very soon.

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Meet POTTER. He’s a 2 year old yellow lab who just moved to New Hanover County for work.

“He just finished at our paws4prisons training program, which is the middle phase of our dogs’ training, and that all takes place in the West Virginia prison system. So he’s moved down here now to finish up his customized training for his job and that takes place at our program here at UNCW,” said Kyria Henry, the executive director of paws4people.

His job? Simply to comfort victims of sexual assault or others that are struggling with the pressure of a courtroom setting.



“He’s going to be able to impact the community so holistically. He’s gonna work with victims and people who might be having to testify and people who might be having some difficult time facing some traumatic situations and trying to get resolution to that,” said Henry.

It’s all part of a partnership between District Attorney Ben David and Paws 4 People, a non-profit organization designed to give people with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities assistance through canine companionships.

“The love of dogs and the unconditional kind of bond they’re able to provide, even in short term visits, is something that can transcend a lot of challenges that people are having and really give the opportunity for people to grow and to heal and to move forward in various ways,” said Henry.

POTTER will be the first facility dog to work side by side with the district attorney and the example he sets could lead to more puppy love in courtrooms in the area.

If you want to get involved with paws4people, all the information you need to do so is available on their website.