On Tuesday, June 1, the Stearns County Attorney’s Office formally added Nova, a facility dog trained by Helping Paws, Inc., to their staff.
Nova’s handler, Keli Trautman, is a Paralegal/Victim Witness Coordinator. Keli and Nova meet with victims and witnesses in child abuse, domestic violence, trafficking, and homicide cases during stressful preparation for court hearings and other criminal justice-related interactions, providing comfort, empathy, and Nova’s silent, calming presence. Keli and Nova graduated from the Helping Paws program in October 2020, and have now worked together for more than a year to perfect Nova’s skills, becoming fully certified for all public interactions, and ready to formally become part of the Stearns County Attorney’s Office staff.
Victims and witnesses have affirmed that Nova and Keli’s presence and support have helped them to feel safe, supported, and cared for as they navigate their interaction with the court system.
Thanks to all who have been a part of getting to this day, with special thanks to:
• Teri Sinn, Nova’s original trainer through Helping Paws, Inc.
• Maryanne Mahowald, Nova’s local trainer.
• Sue Kliewer, Client Services Coordinator and Service Dog Instructor at Helping Paws, Inc.
• Keli Trautman, Stearns County Attorney’s Office Paralegal Victim/Witness Coordinator and Nova’s handler.
Nova and Keli’s Helping Paws graduation video can be viewed on http://Youtube.com.