MCAO Welcomes New Victims’ Services Support Dog, Morgan
At just under two years old and only two feet tall (when standing on her four paws), Morgan is our most “fetching” MCAO team member yet! In December, Golden Retriever Morgan officially joined the MCAO K9 Victim Support Program and along with her handler, Victim Advocate Carrie Johnson, is following in the paw steps of Sam (now retired), Tori and Elle.
Morgan was born and bred in Arizona and was part of a 13-pup litter. Thanks to the Power Paws organization, all of Morgan’s siblings will also become service dogs. Morgan spent the first year and a half of her life receiving training from Power Paws and then her handler joined for two weeks of training. Shortly after Morgan graduated, the MCAO purchased her and she began her introduction to the Office. Morgan has made several practice runs to Court already and is assisting with victims and witnesses that are coming through the Child Advocacy Bureau. In a few short weeks Morgan will be assigned her own caseload.
Although Morgan is working five days a week, she still has puppy time when she goes home. “She is a beautiful dog and fits in so well with our family,” reports her handler Carrie. “Her training is ingrained and she often opens and closes the refrigerator at home to retrieve bottles of water – just like she has been taught. The calming effect she has on victims isn’t lost at home either. She is a gentle, soothing dog who can really identify when people are in need.”
Morgan is already successfully bonding with victims and can often help nervous, young crime victims to relax so that they can tell what happened to them. Most of the Superior Court judges she has met have welcomed her presence in the courtroom and her fellow MCAO K9s, Tori and Elle, are always excited to see her. Carrie, a former special education classroom teacher, couldn’t be more excited to be participating in this program and working side-by-side with Morgan, “I have always lived with dogs and volunteered with dogs and am proud to be able to continue the important work our MCAO K9s and advocates perform on behalf of crime victims.” Shawn Cox, MCAO Victim Services Division Chief agrees, “In providing comfort for the victims we serve, our dogs also provide aid in our pursuit of justice.”