As a PADS dog (Pacific Assistance Dog Society), Lucca has been trained to provide a calming presence, a healthy distraction in moments of distress, and encourage and promote healthy communication throughout troubling times for victims.
In 2018, Lucca became the first Justice Facility Dog in B.C. to be used as a testimonial aid at a jury trial and worked on two different jury trials that year (both for serious sexual offences). For one of the trials, Lucca spent close to four days on the stand with the victim as she gave her testimony. She reflected that being able to pat him, look at him, and rest her feet on him helped her tremendously. The constant physical connection to him was a welcome reminder that she was not giving her testimony alone. She recounted a particularly poignant moment when Lucca sat up and stared at her during an emotional part of her testimony. She recalled, “His eyes were locked on mine and I felt like he was telling me it’s OK—I’ve got your back.”
The victim’s mother was also in attendance at the trial and on several occasions remarked that “Lucca is making us [all] feel safe today.”
The accused in the previously mentioned trial was found guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Lucca and the VPD Victim Services Unit, Justice Facility Dog program is proudly supported by the Vancouver Police Foundation. We will be providing more updates throughout the year, so stay tuned.