Non-profit places therapy dogs in court, centers to help abused children

One paw at a time a Williamson County non-profit is working to help abused and neglected children. Kyle and Amy Wickham have dedicated their professional careers to helping children in need and now they're taking that effort even further.

At the end of 2016, the couple launched Labs for Children. Their love for dogs and passion to help inspired the organization. 

"If we can put a dog somewhere where they will touch thousands of lives it is a no brainer," explained Kyle Wickham who works as an abuse investigator for the state. 

His wife, Amy, works with CASA of Williamson County and has worked with CPS.

"I think he is going to make a huge difference," said Amy. 

He is Nemo. The couple's first therapy dog. He's a 10-month-old lab and lives with the Wickhams. Nemo's nose failed the test to be a diabetic alert dog but his other kind qualities make this job appealing. 

"For me being in the field as an investigator there is only so much I can do as one person," said Wickham. 

Once Nemo is finished with training he will work at an advocacy center. He won't ask questions or judge he'll only be there to love and support his new friends. 

"Kids who didn't have the strength to tell their story, maybe with Nemo there, they will and that's going to change the outcome of their future," said Amy. 

Studies show therapy pets can lower heart rates, increase speech and decrease anxiety. 

"It's a game changer. It's not something I can do. I don't have a tail and can't lick the kids," said Kyle. 

The Wickhams know the power of these paws will help some of the youngest Texans in need. 

The non-profit is teaming up with UT Austin's Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter for an event called Funding Nemo. The 24-hour fundraising blitz kicks off March 29th. 

Nemo's training will cost anywhere from $9,000 to $12,000.



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