A best friend when it’s needed most!

Join us as we introduce a new Program that pioneers the use of the Courthouse Dogs to help support children through the intervention, investigation and prosecution of crimes.

We are excited about being the first in the State of Tennessee to offer this support to the children of the 23rd District, and want you to join with us as we educate our partners on the use of Pavlov our facility dog!

Volunteer Josie Bledsoe cuddles with Pavlov as he becomes accustomed to his new home

Over the past few years child advocates, prosecutors and law enforcement officials have begun to employ professionally trained facility dogs to comfort children during the investigation and prosecution of crimes. Now Pavlov, the first of his kind in Tennessee, joins the ranks of 37 other exceptional dogs now working in 19 states.

Last year, approximately 515 children in the 23rd District were victims of or alleged victims of child sexual and physical abuse. Many of these children were asked to share their story with a stranger, a large number being interviewed by the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), in Charlotte, Tennessee. Determined to provide this type of emotional support for the children in the five counties of this district, the Honorable Dan M. Alsobrooks District Attorney General and Kim Stringfield-Davis, the Executive Director of the 23rd District CAC spent over two years researching how to obtain this type of facility dog and waiting for Pavlov, who has the ideal disposition for this type of work, to finish his training.

Pavlov a golden retriever/Lab mix ,obtained free of charge from an assistance dog organization called Canine Companions for Independence, began his two years of training at 8 weeks of age and graduated last month with his primary handler Mrs. Stringfield-Davis in Orlando, Fla. Pavlov will accompany children during the forensic interview process to ease the stress of discussing details of traumatic events, as well as children who are required to testify in the courtroom setting, to add a sense of safety and security.

Ellen O’Neill-Stephens JD, the founder of this innovative program and Executive Director Celeste Walsen DVM, from Courthouse Dogs Foundation, www.courthousedogs.org, based out of Seattle Washington, will spend two days training local agencies, and other professionals on how to successfully integrate Pavlov into the investigation of crimes and the court process. The training will take place at noon on Dec. 13th at the Courthouse in Charlotte, TN, and Dec. 14th at the Humph Co. Courthouse.