DELTA COUNTY, Michigan (WJMN) – At the end of August 2020, more than 100 dogs were rescued from a suspected puppy mill in Maple Ridge Township; and now one of those dogs is helping the community that saved her.
The story of Blue, the one-and-a-half-year-old Australian Shepherd, is one of true resilience. From being rescued from a traumatic experience now her real focus as a therapy dog for the Delta Regional Child Advocacy Center.
“We’ve had Blue since she was about 18 weeks old, and then when she was offered for adoption, we adopted her,” said Sarah Sorensen, manager of Blue and family lawyer for the Delta Regional Child. Advocacy Center. “We noticed soon enough that she [had] a very calm attitude. I mean, considering what she’s been through, she was just very calm, very laid back, very cuddly.
“She doesn’t really like agility or anything, so we thought we would try a different route to see if we could get her a job. Turns out she loves kids and loves cuddles, so we thought we were going to practice with her and she figured it out so quickly, and when she started seeing kids it was very clear that was what she was supposed to do. “
In November, Blue began his in-person training at the D&D Dog Dynamics Kennel in Gladstone. She has since graduated from their advanced obedience course and now works with child victims of crime at the center.
“The true rate of disclosure by children increases by 48% when a therapy dog is present in the forensic interview process, so that’s one of the big benefits. Some of the benefits that we’ve seen before are that if a kid walks through those doors and is nervous or scared, they see Blue and that’s like a behavior change for the kid. They are happy to see her. It’s a great distraction, and it’s great for cuddling them. She loves to jump on the couch and lay on their knees and give them a lot of love, ”Sorensen said.
At the end of January, Blue will undergo an assessment to become a nationally certified therapy dog.
“She is already a huge asset to our team and we look forward to having her on our team and being able to help children no matter where they are,” said Kelly Chandler, Program Director for Delta Regional Child. Advocacy Center. “We have traveled a lot this year in communities that do not have CAC services, so we have traveled approximately 9,000 miles in 2021 to provide services to children and families outside of Delta County. So we are happy that Blue is also part of this project so that she can travel with us and help these children as well. So the impact Blue is going to have on the Upper Peninsula cannot be measured. “
Photos courtesy of Kelly Chandler / Delta Regional Child Advocacy Center.