CASA introduces new courthouse facility dog

Local News

(CASA of Cameron and Willacy Counties)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cameron and Willacy Counties introduced their newest member on Wednesday, a two-year-old Labrador/Golden retriever mix named “Forest VIII.”

Forest is a courthouse facility dog and will be providing support to children who are victims of abuse.

On Friday, CASA announced the implementation of a courthouse facility program as a service for children who were victims of abuse or neglect.

Dora Martinez, executive director of CASA of Cameron and Willacy Counties, spoke highly of the positive impact that Forest leaves on children.

“I have personally witnessed Forest interact with children and youth, and how Forest responds, it’s heart-warming,” Martinez said.

Forest underwent an extensive two-year program and is capable of performing 40 commands “designed to motivate and inspire clients,” according to a release by CASA.

Forest graduated training with his licensed handler Lacey Ambriz, CASA of Cameron and Willacy Counties’ Communication Director.

“Studies have shown that having animals, particularly a dog, around children can help with stressful situations and reduce forms of anxiety,” Ambriz said.

CASA acquired Forest through Canine Companions, a non-profit organization that offers highly trained assistance dogs to those with disabilities, including adults, children and veterans.

CASA states that their main goal is to provide support for victims of abuse through their volunteers called Court Appointed Special Advocates, both in life and in the courtroom, so that judges may make informed decisions on what is in their best interest.

“We know that Forest will encourage feelings of calm and security, along with unconditional love our children need,” the release stated.

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