Therapy dog helping others at Rape Crisis Center of Milford

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Milford, CT – Dogs are almost everywhere these days but, in Milford, one dog is roaming the halls of an agency.

In fact, Lily is the only dog in the state to have a specific job, at the Rape Crisis Center of Milford.

The agency takes calls around the clock and provided much-needed help to 650 people last year alone.

“We do much beyond Milford. We do Milford, Orange, West Haven, Ansonia, Derby and Shelton, so we cover seven towns,” said Tony Vitti, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center of Milford.

Before the center, Vitti spent 22 years with the Milford Police Department, which helped him prepare for his newest employee.

“Her role is a therapy dog, so a therapy dog is supposed to bring comfort and love and be available for hugs and to comfort somebody who might benefit,” said Peggy Pisano, director of Victim Services.

Lily is center employee Pisano’s dog, who is a 7-year-old golden retriever and now happens to be the first therapy dog at a rape crisis center in Connecticut, where they’ve been helping people for more than 40 years.

“I’ve been able to accept what happened to me and live with it, even though sometimes it’s not easy,” said a victim named Neil, who was molested as a child and credits the center with helping him heal.

Now, he helps others do the same, with a little help from Lily.

“I think with children, it would make – feel – a lot more comfortable. Even maybe not just a child, somebody who’s not used to talking about what’s going on,” Neil said.

The center even wants Lily to help at the police department during a victim questioning or at the courthouse when a child is testifying.

“We have great staff here, they all work very hard but Lily brings just a different avenue to be able to help clients,” Vitti said.

For more information on the crisis center, click here.

They also have a 24/7 crisis hotline available.