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Avery, a lab/retriever mix who brings comfort to children in the courtroom, celebrates a birthday milestone

Posted at 8:02 AM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 13:04:04-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — The Summit County Prosecutor’s office celebrating a milestone birthday for one four-legged friend, a dog who over the years has brought comfort and joy to so many, including hundreds of children, during extremely difficult times.

For the last eight years, Avery, the lab/retriever mix, has been working at the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office.

The prosecutor's office celebrated his 10th birthday Tuesday.

"He loves coming to work! When I say, let’s go to work he jumps,” said his handler, Melanie Hart, administrative specialist for the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office.

His main duty is to offer comfort to the disabled and emotional support to children who are victims of or witnessed a crime.

“A very difficult thing to do when everyone is looking at you. There’s authority in the room. The judge is looking at you. Everything sort of depends on what you are going to say next. It’s definitely overwhelming and terrifying,” said Kayla Cash, a Rootstown resident.

That terror subsiding for then 15-year-old Cash with Avery by her side.

He’d be there every day, comforting a young girl when she needed it most.

Something Cash, now 23, says she’ll never forget.

“Having Avery there gave me the power to get through it all. So, I couldn’t do it without him," she said.

His ability to be in the courtroom was made possible by Canine Companions. The organization trains and then through an application process places dogs across the country.

“Just what a kind soul he is, and how much he’s helped the children in Summit County,” said Hart.

Avery continues to leave a lasting impact on those who need his help most.

“If you take anything away from Avery. Just take away all you need to do to help someone is just there,” said Cash.

His handler also tells us Avery will retire when he turns 12. So, he’s got plenty of more work to do.

The Summit County Prosecutor’s office will begin the process of securing his replacement in the next year or so.

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