Matilda — Therapy
Matilda is a four-year-old lab/golden mix who is Kentucky’s only certified courthouse facility dog who assists abused and neglected children. She is uniquely able to help children who have suffered horrible abuse and trauma, lifting their spirits and bringing smiles to their faces. In Kentucky, a child victim of physical or sexual abuse must testify against their perpetrator in court in order for the perpetrator to be convicted. Matilda helps these children stay calm and feel safe while they testify. Case details are kept confidential, but in one particularly egregious case of sexual abuse, Matilda visited with a child to help the child through the trauma from their past abuse. The child was asked if they would testify in court. The child thought about it, then responded, “Yes — if Matilda comes with me.” The child successfully testified while Matilda lay in the child’s lap, and the perpetrator was convicted for the abuse. In so many other cases, Matilda helps children simply by serving as a calming presence of unconditional love and affection. Children brighten when Matilda enters a room — and Matilda brightens when she sees kids, too! Matilda serves through CASA of Lexington, which trains and supports court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children. Because she has such an amazing effect on children, she also helps out other programs in Kentucky whenever possible.