New dog comforts kids as they deal with authorities in Johnson County

(WISH Photo)

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A new member of the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office is a two-year-old dog named Nanook.

Abused children are often asked to retell their stories for detectives, judges and, in some cases, entire courtrooms. Prosecutors say Nanook will comfort those kids as they share the details.

“Just his demeanor. He’s inquisitive, he cares and ultimately, that’s what it is that we believe is going to help the victims,” deputy prosecutor Ryan Bland said.

On day one of his new job, Nanook found detectives questioning and elderly woman—the victim of a violent crime.

“When he walked into the room and she saw him, there was just an appearance that she wasn’t even there for a deposition,” Bland said. “She immediately relaxed.”

Delaware County welcomed a black lab named Frankie this year and kids in Tippecanoe County also work with the dogs in court.

Nanook is still adjusting and prosecutors say he’ll be ready for court in about six months. They said he’ll be helping kids during interviews in about two months.

“Even if Nanook can help one person, I think that is a significant improvement over the way the system’s been handled in the past,” Bland said.

When he’s not at the office, Nanook lives with Bland and his family. He said the dog is getting along just fine with everyone, including Bland’s two kids.

The dog trained with the Indiana Canine Assistance Network. Bland said that group accepted his application at the beginning of June.

According to Bland, it cost about $1600 to get Nanook. He said the prosecutor’s office used some leftover funds. He plans to split the cost of taking care of Nanook with the prosecutor’s office.

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