Offense: Weapons

Pet Therapy Success

A 12-year-old male was referred by the local elementary school for bringing a knife to school. This youth resided with his grandparents, because his father was incarcerated and abandonment by his mother at the age of 8. His Reparative Agreement included participation in a pilot program with “Pet Assisted Therapy” A college professor provided the assistance and support for the program. A staff member provided her golden retriever. This youth, when he entered the program, hung his head, refused to make eye contact, and participated in very limited conversation. As he worked closely with the dog, a smile developed as well as more dialogue. Staff and interns planned a small party for his 13th birthday—he was deeply touched having never had a birthday cake.  A high point of his program was attaining the honor roll for the first time after years of struggling academically.