From left: Dr. Derek Grant and wife Ann Grant, stand with Anna Register who is the handler of Shelby County Children's Advocacy Center's new facility dog, Yowser.
February 18, 2020 – The Rotary Club of Center recently welcomed Denise Merriman, Executive Director; Anna Register, Forensic Interviewer; and Yowser of the Shelby County Children’s Advocacy Center (SCCAC) to their luncheon meeting held at the John D. Windham Civic Center. During his introduction, Rotarian Dr. Keith Miller recognized Merriman, Register and the entire SCCAC staff for their tireless dedication and service to our community.
Merriman opened the presentation with an overview of the SCCAC giving the mission, purpose and goals of the organization. Then, Register introduced Yowser, the SCCAC’s facility dog, to the club and explained the application process with Canine Companions for Independence® and his role with the organization. Register stated how she researched the benefits of having a facility dog at their center (SCCAC) interacting with the children and after completing the application, the whole process took about a year from applying to actually being accepted to having the dog.
“Canine Companions for Independence® is a nonprofit organization and we got the dog totally free from them,” said Merriman. “Everything was free up to Anna being able to stay in an urban area for two weeks to be trained to be the dog’s facilitator.”
According to Register, her position with SCCAC is conducting interviews with the children ranging in ages 3 to 18. “Yowser is a trained [facility] dog to interact with the kids at the Advocacy Center,” said Register, “so he comes into interviews with us when we talk to the kids. The kids are allowed to pet him and take their mind off of everything for a little bit on what we are talking about. We’ve had huge luck with him (Yowser) so far and all the kids have loved him.”
Merriman also expressed her gratitude to Dr. Derek and Ann Grant for being supporters of the SCCAC and providing care and covering expenses through their donations for Yowser.
Shelby County Children's Advocacy Center, Inc. is here for our community. (http://www.shelbycountycac.com/)
The Mission of the Shelby County Children's Advocacy Center is to promote emotional and physical healing of child abuse victims by uniting the efforts of public agencies and enlisting community support to optimize the prevention, detection, assessment, investigation, and prosecution of child abuse cases. The Advocacy Center is located at 131 Tenaha Street in Center, TX. It is one of the 65 other members of CACTX. Funding comes from grants, fund raising efforts, and donations by individuals, businesses, and area churches. The Center serves children in Shelby County that are victims of crimes and/or neglect. For more information about how to donate or volunteer contact the Center at 936-590-9864 or at P.O. Box 2072, Center, Texas 75935.
Canine Companions for Independence®: Who We Are (https://www.cci.org/)
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. The assistance dogs we breed, raise and train aren’t just the ears, hands and legs of their human partners. They’re also goodwill ambassadors and often, their best friends. They open up new opportunities and new possibilities and spread incredible joy. We unite people with dogs in a powerful program that leads to greater independence and confidence.