Maricopa County Attorney's Office welcomes new therapy dog

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MCAO K9 Victim Support Dog Morgan  (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office) MCAO K9 Victim Support Dog Morgan (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office)
MCAO K9 Victim Support Dog Morgan and her handler and Victim Advocate Carrie Johnson (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office) MCAO K9 Victim Support Dog Morgan and her handler and Victim Advocate Carrie Johnson (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office)
Sam (now retired, Tori and Elle (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office) Sam (now retired, Tori and Elle (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office)
MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office (MCAO) is welcoming a "fetching" new staff member. Meet Morgan, a K9 Victim Support dog.

 The 2-year-old Golden Retriever and her handler, Victim Advocate Carrie Johnson, officially joined the County's Support Program. Morgan will join other K9s Tori and Elle.

The dogs provide calming, comforting support for victims throughout the often-stressful criminal justice process.

Their special training allows them to perform this important function in a variety of behavioral situations and to remain focused when working with outside noises including sirens, emergency workers and even gavels.

In addition to attending court hearings, the K9 VSP team accompanies victims during interviews and meetings related to their case. They offer a reassuring presence for victims as they prepare testimony, give depositions and, in some instances, confront perpetrators.

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, Johnson. "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. Most of the Superior Court judges she has met have welcomed her presence in the courtroom, and her fellow MCAO K9s are always excited to see her.

Johnson, 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."

For more information, visit:  MaricopaCountyAttorney.org/K9-VSP and MCAO Facebook page: fb.com/MaricopaCountyAttorney.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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