Penny — Therapy

Location: Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Like many victims of domestic violence, Penny is familiar with not having a home. Dropped off with her litter mates, with no mother, to a shelter, Penny was found at the bottom of the pile of pups, developing her own coping strategy.

From humble beginnings, Penny transformed her past into a new life of service that brings hope to victims as the first canine court advocate in Allegheny County and the first shelter dog in the State to provide canine court services to victims of domestic violence.

Since 2010, Penny has aided hundreds of victims, in both counseling and courtroom settings. While her handler helps clients navigate the legal system, Penny reassuringly stands by victims in their most difficult moments, promising protection and hope of a better future as they face their abuser.

“When I think about how Penny started in a shelter but ended up making such a difference, it gives me hope,” said one client.

Penny’s work has been recognized nationally as an innovation in addressing victim trauma. Because of her, doors have opened for a new generation of canine advocates to find their calling in PA. At age 13, she still has a heart that refuses to give up on the pursuit of justice, as she continues to reach out to victims during COVID-19 through her series of therapeutic videos, PAWS for Empowerment.

While Penny is already seen as a hero by those she serves, they hope that others can recognize her with the Hero Dog Award to honor her life’s work.

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