Children across the Valley find the help they need at Terre Haute’s Hamilton Center.
They provide therapy for kids with depression, anxiety, ADHD and more.
Now they’ve added a special staff member to the roll-call.
This is Hawk-eye.
He’s a 110 pound white German Shepherd who has a shiny new golden tag and red scarf.
He’s officially a therapy dog.
“Aren’t ya?,” says Cindy Rotman, care manager supervisor. “You’re right there. Aren’t ya?”
For Hawk-eye, his story didn’t begin in the spotlight.
It began after his first owner brought him to the Sullivan Humane Society at just 10 months old.
When new dogs are brought to the shelter, they undergo a health and temperament screening, searching for qualities like compassion, love, and intelligence.
“You can see that in some dogs, that they want that purpose, like a German Shepherd, you know, wants to have a purpose, a duty,” says Heather Hayes, kennel staff.
And for handler and dog mom Cindy Rotman, when she saw him, she just knew.
“When I got him, I was kind of determined to have him help children somehow because he was very good with kids right off the bat,” says Rotman.
It’s taken two years for Hawk-eye to undergo training.
He works one day a week with children or on an as-needed basis.
For children who suffer from depression or anxiety, talking to grown ups sometimes just simply doesn’t cut it.
“You’ll see them be very different with a dog,” says a staffer of the Hamilton Center. “I’ve even had students before say, ‘the only person I can talk to is my dog.'”
And that’s why the Hamilton Center is ecstatic for its first ever panting tool for their kids.
“You know, to stimulate that positive emotion so that in therapy they [kids] can be more engaging,” says Rotman. “And you know the behavior groups, they will listen better.”
From kennel to therapy dog, Hawk-eye is an example of how a community can produce life altering jobs.
And that goes for any other shelter canine that may just need a second chance.
“They’re going to make someone really happy, a family really happy,” says Hayes. “They have great qualities. All of them are different and they are all very loved.”
Hawk-eye is normally very exhausted after a long day at the office.
So his favorite treat is for doing such a good job are grilled chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-a.
Hawkeye went through various courses to learn his commands.
He has been verified as a therapy dog from a program in Evansville.