PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA... The Prince William County Department of Social Services (DSS) will soon be the home of the first ever facility dog to work in a local social services department. A reception announcing the program, and featuring the facility dog and Family Services Worker who will be its handler, is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 10:30 a.m. in the Department of Social Services’ office, which is located in the Sudley North Building, 7987 Ashton Ave., Suite 200 in Manassas.
Facility dogs are trained for two years to provide comfort to children impacted by the stress of being involved in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. A DSS Family Services employee recently completed an intensive two-week training program with the dog.
Unlike a service dog that assists a person with disabilities or pet therapy dogs that visit people with their owners, a facility dog will accompany the DSS employee to work every day to provide silent comfort and support to children and other vulnerable people. At the end of the work day, the dog will go home with the employee and enjoy the life of a pet dog.
The dog and training was provided by the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) campus in Medford, New York, a non-profit assistance dog organization. With this placement, there will be 59 facility dogs assisting professionals affiliated with the criminal justice system in 23 states.
For more information about the reception next Tuesday or about Prince William County’s DSS facility dog, contact Janine Sewell firstname.lastname@example.org.