Two years ago, 360 Communities introduced Ranger, Minnesota’s first victim support dog. Ranger works alongside Outreach Advocate Stacie Burke in the Apple Valley Police Department as an incredible tool for Stacie to use to provide comfort to survivors as they tell their stories, report to police, or testify in court.
Last year alone, Ranger attended 83 court hearings with clients and provided in-person emotional support 183 times with survivors. The popularity of Ranger has opened the doggy door to an additional resource for survivors.
Meet Coco, 360 Communities’ brand new victim support dog!
The Lakeville Police Department is the latest law enforcement agency to partner with 360 Communities to provide this resource for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Coco works alongside Outreach Advocate Heather Kolling. According to Heather, Coco has already opened doors at the police department to have conversations about services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
“She attended a trial last week where the victim was so focused on Coco that she completely missed her abuser walking right past her. She noticed once he was down the hallway and commented that she was so grateful Coco was there,” said Kolling. “I can’t wait to see the impact she has on both the law enforcement officers we work with and the victims we serve.”
The Lakeville Police Department is excited to welcome Coco and know she will enhance the services Heather can provide to survivors. “We believe having a therapy dog will help to put victims at ease as we help to get them through a difficult situation,” said Lakeville Police Lieutenant Jim Puncochar.
Thank you to the Lakeville Public Safety Foundation for providing financial support for Coco. 360 Communities’ victim support dogs are resources that enhance the ability of outreach advocates to compassionately serve people in crisis.
See Ranger in action below!