"Dogs are more calming or people are more calm when dogs are around,” said Denise Lunsford, Albemarle County commonwealth’s attorney.
Theo is a courthouse dog. He is trained to help provide a safe, calm, environment for victims and witnesses during interviews.
"When someone comes to our office either as a victim or a witness it's generally a stressful process. Oftentimes with victims it's the worst thing that's happened to them in their lives,” said Lunsford.
Theo was originally trained to help someone in a wheelchair, but it's because of his demeanor that he's the perfect fit for this new job.
"Theo is a very low-key kind of dog. He has a lot of things he knows how to do but he's not pushy, he's not demanding,” said Peggy Law of Service Dogs of Virginia.
Theo lives with Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Matt Quatrara and stays by his side at work.
Theo will be able to sit in during interviews with domestic violence and sexual abuse victims.
"It helps our office to be more accommodating and friendly to victims and witnesses and others that we have to interact with in this process,” said Lunsford.
So far he's been present in one interview, but he's got a lot of work ahead of him.
"He had a wonderful job before and he was helping an individual, but now he's going to be able to impact a great number of people,” said Law.
Theo comes with no additional cost to taxpayers. He was bought with money from assets seized from drug crimes.
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