After more than three years of service at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeast Louisiana, facility dog Kasha is retiring.
Kasha, a yellow Labrador retriever was trained and provided to the CAC by Canine Companions for Independence. The CAC conducts forensic interviews with children who have been sexually abused or witnessed a violent crime. Kasha has helped provide comfort and confidence to children during these interviews, according to center staff.
The CAC held a ceremony last week to commemorate Kasha’s service and upcoming retirement.
Children’s Advocacy Center Director Tiffany O’Neal said she has seen the difference Kasha has made for children during the interviews.
“A child would come into the CAC anxious and scared about what was going to happen. Kasha would help calm their anxieties,” she said.
Children would be allowed to walk Kasha on her leash to the interview room.
“That small action empowered kids by giving them a sense of control in what was happening. Kasha helped make a difficult experience a little better for each child she met,” said O’Neal.
Macy Avery, a family advocate at the CAC has been Kasha’s caregiver for the last three years. Kasha will remain in Avery’s care during her retirement. Kasha went through two years of training before she was specially matched with Avery and the Children’s Advocacy Center free of charge. Kasha is trained in over 40 commands to assist with children who visit the CAC.
During the last three years, Kasha has provided a sense of security and comfort to approximately 550 children in need.
The Children’s Advocacy Center serves children and mentally challenged adult victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, human trafficking, or witnesses to violent crimes. The Children’s Advocacy Center is a division of the Center for Children and Families.