Canine advocate, Harv, comforts victims of trauma and abuse

Marquette Pictured above is Harv, a five-year-old English Labrador retriever who loves treats and his toys.

However, Harv isn't your average dog.

He's actually a “canine advocate” for the Marquette County Prosecutor's Office. He even sports his very own Marquette County identification card.

"Everybody here loves Harv, everybody in the courthouse loves Harv. He helps to calm the environment, [and] what we deal with is a lot of difficult situations and cases,” said Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office Manager and Victim Witness Coordinator, Sandy Place.

Harv's job as a canine advocate is to bring comfort to victims of trauma and abuse, both in the office during meetings and occasionally, in court.

"Victims coming in are in such a difficult situation and difficult time in their life. Harv being here just helps them get through it, through a meeting, through a court hearing, through the entire case sometimes,” Place said.

Harv received his training through the non-profit organization called the Canine Advocacy Program (CAP), which places dogs like Harv all around Michigan.

"Harv was originally in the leader dog for the blind program, but because of his hip dysplasia he couldn't follow through with that program. So we got the call in August of 2015, and we got Harv,” Place said.

Place, who is one of Harv’s handlers, says court hearings and meetings surrounding traumatic cases are hard on victims, which is why Harv’s job is so important.

"It helps to calm them when they come through the door and they see him. He approaches them and you can physically see people just, at ease,” said Place.

Place adds, Harv has become an important part of the office over the past few years.

"He helps the staff to kind of get through each day also. He comes to each of us and he knows where we all keep our treats,” Place said.

To learn more about CAP, click here.

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