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Real LifeSometimes the best therapists have 4 legs. Calhoun, a golden Labrador, was one of the most trusted members of the Childhelp team. When Sam, 7, was brought to the Childhelp Children's Center after witnessing his father kill his mother, Calhoun greeted him. "This pup works with me here at Childhelp," the counselor said. She pointed to a sign above the door. "You see that? 'All Who Enter Here Will Find Love.'"
Sam was shocked silent by the violence he witnessed. His bruises suggested he had been brutalized. Calhoun comforted him through his exam. A Childhelp doctor checked the little boy's foot and the dog's paw. "See, he's getting the same exam as you." Sam's next stop was a forensic interview where a counselor recorded his story as detectives watched from a TV in the next room. "Can you tell me what happened?" Sam shook his head, still terrified. "What about Calhoun? Could you tell Calhoun?" Sam looked into the warm eyes of the dog standing sturdy beside him. Calhoun nudged his nose under the frightened boy's hand and Sam described what he had seen to his new friend.
When the interview was complete and the team leapt into action advocating for Sam by aiding the prosecutor's case, creating a treatment plan and finding him safe haven with a Childhelp-approved foster family. Calhoun was never bad but that day he didn't listen to his trainer. Therapy pets are not allowed in the playroom but as Sam fell asleep on stuffed animals in a cozy corner, Calhoun ignored the command to "come." Instead, he cuddled next to Sam, placed his head on the child's chest and remained by his new friend's side. This time it was OK to break a rule.