DELTA COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) — In August of 2020, over 100 dogs were rescued from an alleged puppy mill in Maple Ridge Township. Now one of those dogs is helping the community that saved her.
The story of Blue, the one-and-a-half-year-old Australian shepherd, is one of true resilience. After being rescued from a traumatic experience, she is now serving her true purpose as a therapy dog for the Delta Regional Child Advocacy Center.
“We’ve had Blue since she was about 18 weeks old and then when she was up for adoption, we adopted her,” said Sarah Sorensen, Blue’s handler and family advocate for the Delta Regional Child Advocacy Center. “We noticed pretty early on that she [had] a very calm demeanor. I mean, considering what she went through, she was just very calm, very laid back, very cuddly.”
“She’s not much for agility or anything like that so we thought we’d try a different route to see if we could find her a job. It turns out she loves kids and she loves to cuddle, so we thought we’d do some training with her. She caught on so fast, and when she started seeing kids it was very clear this was what she was meant to do.”
Back in November, Blue started her in-person training at the D&D Dog Dynamics Kennel in Gladstone. She has since graduated from their advanced obedience course and is now working with child victims of crime at the center.
“The true disclosure rate by children increases by 48% when a therapy dog is present in the forensic interview process, so that is one of the big benefits,” Sorensen said. “They’re happy to see her. She’s a really good distraction and she’s excellent at cuddling them.”
At the end of January, Blue will be going through an evaluation to become a nationally certified therapy dog.
“She’s a really great asset to our team already and we’re looking forward to having her on staff and being able to help kiddos no matter where they are,” said Kelly Chandler, program director for the Delta Regional Child Advocacy Center. “We traveled around 9,000 miles in 2021 to provide services to children and families outside of Delta County. The impact that Blue is going to have on the Upper Peninsula cannot be measured.”
Photos courtesy of Kelly Chandler/Delta Regional Child Advocacy Center.