Former Shelter Dog Comforts Youngest Crime Victims

Rocky, Broward County's First Police Therapy Dog

The newest member of the Police Department in Davie, Florida, has only been on the job a short time, and he’s already making a difference.  You might say Rocky was born with a nose for his job.

 

Det. Choquette and Rocky
Det. Choquette and Rocky

Rocky is a two-and-a-half-year-old chocolate lab.  His handler and owner, Davie Police Detective Lisa Choquette, made him part of her own family when he was a puppy, and enrolled him in a dog therapy program in Brevard County. This program is free of charge, and teaches obedience and other skills to canines rescued from the county’s Humane Society.

 

Upon graduating from the program, Rocky was registered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. It quickly became apparent to Detective Choquette how much Rocky reduced the stress of humans of every age and diffused tense situations, just by being there.  Although not your typical police dog, she thought he would make a great member of the force, to assist in very special situations: those involving young victims of crimes.

 

“It was difficult to sit with a 5-year-old and for them to tell their horrific story.”

 

Now, when around Rocky, detectives see the results of that training: children are able to better assist the department, giving important details of what happened to them.  Rocky is a special breed of dog, for sure.  He is currently the ONLY law enforcement therapy dog in Florida.  A family pet turned crime-fighting tool!

Says Choquette,

Instead of the fear of talking to an adult, they see the dog, which gives them comfort.  It reduces their anxiety and they feel more comfortable talking to us as investigators.”

 

 

Watch the video above, provided by the Davie Police Department, to see Rocky at work!   Once Rocky puts on his vest, he knows playtime is over.  When the officers come in to meet the victims, they’re introduced as “Rocky’s friends.”

rocky1

Rocky has already helped young victims of crimes, assisting their Special Victims Unit.    He comforted a teenage victim, hesitant to speak with adults, but who relaxed around Rocky.  She was able to provide details about her case to the detectives. Another young victim was able to assist detectives in a similar way, just by sitting with and petting Rocky while she spoke.

 

 

Rocky enjoys trips to the library for story time!
Rocky enjoys trips to the library for story time!

Detective Choquette’s cases are tough, focusing on child abuse, child neglect, sex crimes and children.  Rocky sits through every harrowing interview.  Rocky’s skill set is so in demand that other law enforcement agencies are booking him to assist in their own cases.

“Now we can move forward with other departments who want a therapy dog.  It would awesome for all of them to have one.”

 

Getting and giving a little T.L.C.  Bringing comfort to victims in crisis. For Rocky, it’s all part of a day’s work.

 

For information on Rocky’s innovative training, please contact Detective Choquette at the Davie Police Department, (954) 693-8200

If you liked that, we think you’ll enjoy this episode of ShelterMe.TV: Partners for Life!

Lisa Blanck

Writing articles about animals for more than 22 years, she dove into the rescue world with the onset of Hurricane Katrina. As an outspoken advocate for animals, she's covered everything from paws to hooves, fins to feathers. She was the Orlando Animal Rescue and Worldwide Animal Issues Examiner for seven years. She's always thinking pawsitive, looking for ways to improve the lives of animals. She lives with one dog, one cat and one patient human. She welcomes your suggestions and is thrilled to be part of the ShelterMe.tv family!

4 comments

  1. Kathy Wolf says:

    Boynton Beach Police Department was the first official municipality to receive an SVU therapy dog (Harley). Trained at Brevard Sherriff’s Paws and Stripes Colleg, Rocky graduated in the same class with Harley and 2 other dogs (Jackson and Daisy). Daisy is pending agency approval by Palm Beach County Sherrifs.

  2. Lisa says:

    Mongoose218 It is pretty much all free cost is very minimal for the departments!!

  3. Mongoose218 says:

    Wonderful article, brought tears……

    Yes, it would be GREAT if every single police dept had at least one of these dogs, no matter what breed or mixed breed…..! THAT would be money well spent!

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