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TOMAH, Wisconsin (WXOW) – The Tomah Health Community Foundation, which is a philanthropic arm of the Tomah Health System, made a donation Thursday to help fund a therapy dog program. Brighter Tomorrows adds a therapy dog to support its services to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors across Monroe County.
Brian Eirschele, vice president of the Tomah Health Community Foundation, presented a check for $ 1,500 to fund the program. The donation is part of the foundation’s goal to help improve the community. When they heard about the Therapy Dog program and how it helps children experience emotional moments during recovery, helping with funding was an easy decision.
Jan Bruder, program coordinator, accepted the donation, recognizing that the need for support is now greater than ever as domestic violence and sexual assault have doubled or nearly tripled during the pandemic.
“Our thought was, is there anything we can do to provide extra support and comfort to these victims?” said brother. “When we heard of other programs doing this, we started doing extensive research thinking this is something we want to bring to our county to help the survivors we serve.”
A golden retriever named “Sol” is still a puppy and will be handed over to Brighter Tomorrows in about five weeks. From there, he will complete basic dog training courses and eventually team up with his dog handler to develop his therapeutic skills.
As a therapy dog, Sol will play an important role in helping children or adults involved in domestic or sexual assault situations. From the early stages when survivors first report the crimes throughout the legal process and through to recovery.
“Sol will be able to help victims testifying in court.” said brother. “He is actually trained to sit on your feet and sit on the stand with you for added comfort and support.”
Brighter Tomorrows will also work with local law enforcement to keep Sol available in times of crisis when situations warrant.
The Tomah Health Foundation is a charity in and of itself and relies on community donations to return assistance to the community through grants and donations. Much of their funding comes from contributions during an annual golf tournament hosted by Hiawatha Golf Course, Tomah.
This year’s golf outing is scheduled for August 6th, and last year the event helped boost the activities of the St. Claire Health Mission of Monroe County, Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry of Tomah, Second Harvest Food Bank, Monroe County Health Dept. Financial support., Tomah Boys & Girls Club, Junior Achievement and Family Promise of Monroe County.
For more information on Brighter Tomorrows or the Tomah Health Community Foundation, visit these websites: Foundation – Tomah Health & Brighter Tomorrows (mocobrightertomorrows.com)