Therapy Dog Watson brings a grounding presence to the Cookeville Police Department Victims Unit.
Victims Service Coordinator Tara Bates said Watson has been with the department since December but only received his certification in March. She said Watson offers physical comfort and a sense of calm to victims.
“He will lean into the victim,” Bates said. “He will rest his head in their lap. He will demonstrate affection however they are comfortable receiving that affection. And just kind of provide a grounding presence.”
Bates said Watson accompanies victims during law enforcement interviews or while giving a report to law enforcement, or during a follow up interview with a detective, really any interaction with the justice system.
Bates said Watson responds to cues of discomfort.
“He has been truly helpful with some of the victim interviews that he has been involved in,” Bates said. “He has helped those victims to provide more details about what happened than they might otherwise have shared just due to the intimate and traumatic nature of their victimization.”
Bates said the more information the department is able to get from victims, the more the investigators have to guide their work with that incident.
“So that has certainly been an improvement,” Bates said.