Anderson County District Attorney General’s office hires emotional support dog

Image credit: Jake the DA Dog, Facebook

Something for the weekend: Helping employees with their career progression or to train in new skills is a useful tool employers can utilise to keep talent within their organisation. However, sometimes it is more about providing the right environment for an employee to flourish, as the Anderson County District Attorney General’s office discovered when it hired four-year-old dog Jake to work as an emotional support dog.

Jake, a Labrador mix, has had a chequered CV history, previously working as both a search and rescue dog, and as a service dog for handicapped individuals. However, these roles did not suit his specific skill set, as his paws were too sensitive for hefty rescue work, while his search and rescue training prevented him fully flourishing when working with handicapped individuals.

Now, Jake is employed by the Anderson County District Attorney General’s office with his owner Rhoni Brooks Standefer, working three to four times a week in the office and also attending court twice a week. Jake’s new role as an emotional support dog, which he has been performing for the past five months, enables Jake to use his natural empathy to comfort victims that have been affected by crime.

Dubbed ‘Jake the DA Dog’, the office’s latest employee even has his own Facebook page to promote goings on at the organisation.

General Dave Clark, district attorney, told “When [Brooks Standefer] brought him to work, we noticed how gentle and empathetic he seemed to be. By chance, he was here when a victim came in. This victim had been beaten and injured very badly and was traumatised by the crime. She also had a very difficult time talking about it. She enjoyed having Jake there. It was a comfort to her. That was an indication to us that he may have some important function and that maybe it could be duplicated for other victims.

“He has a sense of when people were in need. He will lay his head in their lap and gravitate toward them so they will find that comforting. His discipline and demeanour are unchanged. He performs like any service dog because he has had a lot of training. He responds immediately to commands but the empathy that he expresses and feels is untrained. That is just him.”

Here at Employee Benefits, we’re glad that Jake was able to find his perfect role in order to fully utilise his strengths at work. We certainly think an emotional support dog would be a great addition to our editorial team in the run up to deadline…