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Tater Tot ‘Chief Cuddle Officer’ at Summit County Juvenile Court docket

Social employee Geoff Auerbach and his remedy canine, Tater Tot, are a welcome sight in a spot the place persons are typically hurting.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — At Prepared Pet GO! We like to shout out our working canines for all they do. And that features Tater Tot, a Border Collie/Labrador combine on the job on the Summit County Juvenile Court docket.

Geoff Auerbach and his skilled remedy canine, “Tater Tot,” are a welcome sight in a spot the place persons are typically hurting.

“We’re sort of assembly children on the worst time of their lives. It goes for the mother and father, too. No one is within the court docket as a result of they need to be right here,” Auerbach stated.

Auerbach is a Guardian advert Litem with the Summit County Juvenile Court docket. The social employee is in court docket, for the youngsters, engaged on their behalf.

“I am unable to actually hug purchasers, proper? I am unable to hug children, however as my avatar, Tater Tot, can. And one in all his instructions is hug,” Auerbach defined.

“I’ve had children sort of tear up once they get hugs and fogeys popping out of the courtroom, they will see me and Tater Tot — and cease of their tracks. And also you simply see them breathe a sigh of reduction. They ‘re simply excited to have any person there who’s not judging them — who’s not invested in why they’re right here.’

On the Juvenile Court docket, that often means children who’ve skilled trauma or abuse. Choose Linda Tucci Teodosio says in lower than a 12 months, Tater Tot is already making a distinction.

“Tater Tot can very quietly sit underneath the desk with a youth, who’s going by way of a really nerve-racking time listening to testimony from witnesses relating to an offense they’re alleged to commit. And it gives them with some consolation. And I feel take the stress degree down. There’s one thing about canines’ unconditional love for an individual that, you recognize, actually could make life rather a lot simpler, even within the worst of sure circumstances,” she stated.

It was Teodosio who gave the inexperienced gentle for a remedy canine ​​in juvenile court docket.

“My philosophy and my manner of working within the court docket has all the time been the power to take the great recommendation of individuals in our constructing who’re smarter of their areas than I’m. Geoff as a social employee, and Beth Cardina, who’s head of Our Court docket Appointed Particular Advocate Guardian advert Litem program got here to me and stated, “We predict this could be a wonderful thought. It might assist children open up. That may assist children be capable of higher handle being on the Court docket Home. And we expect that is one thing that will actually be efficient. I deferred to their recommendation and I am actually glad that we did it. Its been fantastic,” she stated.

Auerbach turned involved in remedy canines whereas in graduate faculty. After spending time on a ready listing, he was matched with Tater Tot. The pup accomplished an 18-month coaching program by way of Canine Help Rehabilitation Schooling and Companies whereas being fostered by an inmate program participant at Ellsworth Correctional Facility in Kansas.

That coaching included studying greater than 50 completely different indicators. Auerbach additionally went by way of a coaching program to organize him as Tater Tot’s handler.

Along with spending time within the court docket, Tater Tot spends time within the Juvenile Detention Middle as properly, providing hugs and companionship within the remedy room.

Although Auerbach has his personal CASA caseload, he’s additionally afforded the pliability to work with Restore Court docket on Mondays with Tater Tot. There, the staff helps youth who’ve been trafficked or who’re susceptible to being trafficked.

Their work has garnered consideration round Ohio, and even outdoors the state. Auerbach has spoken at CASA conferences about Tater Tot’s affect within the court docket. Choose Teodosio has additionally fielded calls from different judges, who’re exploring the thought of ​​following in Summit County’s footsteps.

Tater Tot could also be 3/4 Border Collie and 1/4 Labrador Retriever, however extra importantly he’s 100% a bundle of affection, at a job the place he is making a distinction day by day.

Editor’s observe: Video within the participant above was initially revealed in an unrelated story on Jan. 23, 2023.

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