YOLO COUNTY NEWS

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Rebekahs donate to care, training of DA’s comfort dog

By From page A7 | June 12, 2014

ALOHAw

Laura Valdes, the victim services manager at the Yolo County District Attorney's Office, trains Aloha to work as a comfort dog. Aloha sits quietly at the feet of adults and children as they are being interviewed or questioned in court. Courtesy photo

The Davis Rebekah Lodge has donated $500 for training and care of Aloha, the comfort dog at the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office. Aloha works with victims and witnesses to help reduce the emotional trauma they suffer during their exposure to the criminal justice system.

She quietly sits at the feet of adults and children as they are being interviewed or questioned in court. DA’s Office personnel say Aloha’s presence has reduced the stress level of countless people who have been thrust into the criminal justice system. She also volunteers in family law court where she is a favorite of the children and parents waiting to have their cases heard.
The DA’s comfort dog program was brought to the attention of the Davis Rebekah Lodge by one of its members, Judge Kathleen White. The DA’s victim services manager, Laura Valdes, is Aloha’s owner and handler.

When White learned that Valdes self-funds the training and care of the dog, she brought the program to the attention of the Davis Rebekah Lodge. The lodge consists of women and men of all ages who are committed to community service. Under the leadership of Noble Grand Barbara Geisler, the lodge supports numerous local charities and focuses on assisting the most vulnerable members of our community.

White described the hall outside her courtroom being full of anxious people waiting to testify about their recent traumas.

“Aloha seems to know who needs her most, heads straight for that person and sits calmly next to them,” White said. “In a few minutes, everyone in the hall is petting her and smiling. Aloha and Laura provide a wonderful public service.”

Enterprise staff

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