AKRON, OH – In today’s dose of good news… For many people their dog is part of their family, but for one canine in Ohio, he’s so much more.
Cake, presents, and lots of guests.
A traditional birthday party for a very special canine.
“He’s incredible emotionally intelligent. You know that he can tell when you’re feeling upset.” Says Kayla Cash.
10 year old Avery is a facility dog at the Summit County Prosecutors Office helping to comfort crime victims while meeting prosecutors and testifying in court.
“We were the first prosecutors office in Ohio to ever get a facility dog, that’s what he’s referred to as, I wasn’t really sure how that was going to go over.” Says Sherri Bevin Walsh, Summit County Prosecutor.
The prosecutors office says Avery has worked with more than 250 victims in the 8 years he’s been there, the majority of them, children.
“When a child is more relaxed they’re going to be better able to testify truthfully about what happened to them.” Walsh says.
One of those children was Kayla Cash, a sexual assault survivor, who was accompanied by Avery on the witness stand in her early teens.
“It kind of gives you that buffer of someone you trust is there, someone that’s comforting you is there but it’s also not in the way of the trial that’s happening.” Cash says.
She says Avery can tell when someone needs him.
“When I testified he sat between my legs and he actually had his head just in my lap and that offered someone that I look down to, make a little eye contact.” Cash says.
His handler and mom Melanie Hart says Avery is always excited to come to work.
“He always knows who the victims are, it’s amazing that he has that knack about him.” Hart says.
At his party, Avery was presented by the Summit County Executive with a proclamation, or rather, a “pawclamation.”
And another by the mayor of Akron declaring August 3rd as Avery Day.
A video of his life capped off the event for the dog that has been able to put so many at ease.
“I just want to have you guys join us in saying Happy Birthday to Avery.” Cash says.