Hatty is ready to do a world of good for victims of sexual assault.
Cook County State’s Attorney Office in Illinois recently swore in their newest member. Hatty, a two-year-old black Labrador Retriever, was welcomed during an official ceremony in Chicago. The working dog stood on her hind legs and placed a paw over a law book as officials recognized her as the office’s first therapy dog and newest employee. Her job will be to help children and other victims of assault stand up to their abusers.
The swearing-in ceremony has been a long time coming.
Hatty was trained in part by inmates and an organization called Duo. For months, she worked hard to learn the skills she’ll need to work in office and courtroom environments. She has excellent manners and knows a number of tricks, but her most valuable skill is something that’s completely natural. The best thing Hatty can do in her new role is love and comfort people.
When a child goes to court to identify the person who sexually assaulted them, Hatty will be there. When a mentally disabled person has to navigate the intimidating process of talking to attorneys, Hatty will be by their side. State’s Attorney Kim Foxx knows how terrifying it can be to suffer trauma and endure the court proceedings that follow. She’s a victim of sexual assault herself. She’s welcoming the brown-eyed Labrador to her team as a way to make a difference.
State’s Attorney Foxx wants victims who come to her office to feel safe and comfortable.
Hatty will take on up to 200 cases a year with the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Unit. She will attend interviews and make appearances in court. Foxx said on Twitter,
“Coming to this work with compassion and understanding of victims’ experiences helps to ensure the system is fair and just to everyone. Hatty was trained to help provide comfort and relaxation while victims are in the courthouse or while they are giving their testimony.”
Without ever saying a word, Hatty will be there to comfort those who are forced to relive the worst days of their lives. A courthouse isn’t exactly a welcoming place. But with a cute Labrador on the payroll, the Cook County State’s Attorney Office hopes to make important changes.
All images via Twitter/State’s Attorney Kim Foxx