GREENE COUNTY, Mo.– The Greene County Juvenile Office has brought aboard a new four-legged employee.
Duo Dog Derby is a three-year-old English Labrador who’s been brought on to help juvenile and treatment court clients. His training includes work in individual counseling and family therapy.
Derby’s primary handler Ethan Potter said his role is to help relieve anxieties.
“Sometimes we have really heavy topics,” Potter said. “Derby will get on my couch and lay across their lap or sit on the floor by their feet. He keeps their mind off things.”
Derby was trained with Duo Dogs, a St. Louis-based nonprofit. Greene County Commission’s office said Derby was received from the nonprofit for free and only pays upkeep costs for food, kennels and veterinarian bills.
The Juvenile Office got the idea of keeping a dog around after seeing the effect of Child Advocacy Center’s dog Java had with helping to calm kids.
“Having Derby here is a total game changer,” Potter said. “He gives families something nice and positive to focus their energy and attention on. We can have normal conversations that aren’t awkward or stiff that you sometimes see in family counseling.”