Sign In

Therapy Dog Bringing Comfort

October 7, 2020

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has a special K-9 who plays an important role.

While most K-9s help in crime scenes and investigations, Comfort Caj is crime therapy dog and brings smiles to the community and the sheriff’s office.

“He really brings a light and energy to this whole building, that you can’t fathom, you just have to see it,” said Tammy Erwin, Caj’s handler.

Marion County Sheriff Brian Wallace first saw therapy dogs being used after the devastation of Hurricane Matthew.

Once Wallace was elected, Erwin joined the sheriff’s office as victim’s advocate, and the two began searching for a therapy dog of their own.

The sheriff’s office received state approval, and Caj was brought to the sheriff’s office in 2017 and became the first Crime Victim Therapy dog to join a law enforcement department in South Carolina.Erwin said he has a variety of roles. He comforts victims, plays with children and visits nursing homes and schools.

But due to COVID-19, Caj wasn’t able to make as many public appearances so he found a new role.

“He was laying around going, ‘Please give me something to do.’ So, I had a friend who put on Facebook saying we need fosters for kittens at the shelter and I said, ‘Oh why not?’” said Erwin.

She was initially worried about how Caj would react to the kittens, but now they’re inseparable.

“He laid down and was the gentlest thing. He licks them and cleans them, and he’s actually been a huge help to me, keeping them bathed. Now we’re on our 25th baby,” Erwin said.

Caj has also been there to help sheriff’s office staff and deputies during some of their saddest times, including the morning they lost Cpl. Michael Latu, who died in a crash while responding to a call in December.

“Once we got through those first few hours in the middle of the night, I went home and got him because we needed him to just lay at our feet and just comfort us, and that’s his job, not only for the victims, but us as well,” Erwin said.

She added that Caj exemplifies everything the sheriff’s office is about.“We care about this community, we care about its people and he embodies what we stand for,” Erwin said.

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • Recent News

    Therapy Dog Program

    The Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association Therapy Dog Training program has given Park Rapids resident Terese Bervig a new mission in life. “My husband, Gregg, and I always had Labradors,” she said. “We’ve raised them for field trials in the past and for hunting. We picked Ace out of a litter from Bird Dog Labs […]

    Read more

    School Therapy Dog

    The newest employee at Christ the Teacher Catholic School is a boss’ dream. All he requires are a bed in his office, a few trips outside during the day, and some scratching behind the ears. Meet Dewey, the year-and-a-half-old golden doodle who has become a fixture around Christ the Teacher. Dewey is principal Steve Adams’ […]

    Read more

    Malakai Brings Joy

    Malakai not only loves his job, he will also love you unconditionally. He’s a husky-shepherd pup, growing by leaps and bounds, that brings joy and peace-of-mind to the clients at the supervised drug-injection clinic in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where his owner, Kelsi Jessamine, works. The registered nurse wasn’t looking for a therapeutic dog when she […]

    Read more

    Police Force Gets Therapy Dog

    During these stressful times, a local police department is making changes. The North Tonawanda Police Department is expanding and reaching out to the community like never before. Their newest and most popular officer… has four legs. Police dogs come in all breeds, shapes and sizes. Some K9’s are tasked with finding drugs, others find people… […]

    Read more

    Schools Intervention Dog

    Kingston Secondary School will be getting a new staff member before the end of the 2020-21 school year with the addition of Indie, a black standard poodle. Indie, working with adolescent care worker Emma-Jane Hamilton, will be the first intervention dog placed within a Limestone District School Board school. “My job is to support students […]

    Read more

    Veterans Court Therapy Dog

    Howard County Superior Court II Judge Brant Parry stood in his courtroom last week and looked around like he had lost something. “You want to see her?” he asked, still looking around the mostly empty room. A few moments later, a brown fluff of fur came bounding through an open back door, prompting instant smiles […]

    Read more

    Three-legged Therapy Dog

    We here at NEWS CENTER Maine met Lucky at the start of 2019. Army veteran Christy Gardner was training him to be a therapy dog, and she brought him by the news station, while he was training with her older service dog, Moxie. Lucky was born a little different, with a right paw that didn’t […]

    Read more