Lincoln-Way West Gets Visit from State's Attorney Therapy DogWednesday, December 5, 2018
Students at Lincoln-Way West recently had a guest speaker from the Will County State’s Attorney’s office. Guest speakers are common at the school, but since this visit was to the Animal World class, the visitor was four-legged, furry, friendly, and very obedient.
Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Vukmir works with people with mental health or drug issues. Next to her side you can always find Angus, a four year old English Labrador Retriever. Along with a licensed therapist, they work with adults in specialty courts for veterans, drugs, and mental health.
“Angus’ job is to help people get through tough situations- abuse, losses they may have had- he makes it a little easier to talk about those things,” Vukmir explained to the students.
The therapy dog goes with Vukmir to group counseling, veteran’s court programs, and drug court. He’s one of very few support dogs who is also allowed in the witness stand.
“Angus will sense when people are feeling anxious or upset. He is extremely helpful because he takes the edge off,” said Vukmir. “If that person is nervous to testify, he will go to court and sit with them.”
Vukmir answered students’ questions about everything from Angus’ extensive training and grooming, to where he lives, and how he acts at home and around other dogs. At the end of the class, students were able to sit and pet Angus- who was very content with all the attention.
The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office has five dogs- including one that sniffs out hidden electronics and a few that work at the Children’s Advocacy Center.