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Meet Tater Tot, Summit County Juvenile Court's new therapy dog

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Posted at 7:37 AM, Feb 10, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — Summit County Juvenile Court Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio welcomed a new professional therapy dog named Tater Tot whose role will be to provide comfort and support to children participating in court proceedings.

Tater Tot is a 3.5-year-old Border Collie Mix who will be working alongside his owner and handler Geoff Auerbach, who is also a licensed social worker employed by the Summit County CASA Program.

The CASA Program works to protect and advocate for the best interests of abused, neglected and dependent children involved in the Summit County child welfare system.

“Tater Tot has been trained to provide comfort and companionship to individuals he senses to be in emotional distress,” said Auerbach. “His ability to put people at ease never ceases to amaze me.”

Tater Tot completed an 18-month training program facilitated by Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education and Services while being fostered by an inmate program participant at Ellsworth Correctional Facility in Kansas.

Tater Tot is highly trained and understands about 56 commands.

“Participating in court proceedings can be an extremely emotional and stressful experience for children,” said Teodosio. “The more that we can do to alleviate the stress and apprehension they feel, the more likely we are to obtain the information needed to make difficult and sometimes life-altering decisions.”

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Tater Tot is Summit County Juvenile Court's newest therapy dog.

In addition to serving the Summit County CASA program, Tater Tot will focus on comforting court-involved youth who are receiving services through Restore Court, a certified-specialized docket at Summit County’s juvenile court that aims to divert juvenile victims of human trafficking and those at high risk from the juvenile justice system to restorative care.

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