National Guard introduces service dog to serve sexual assault response program

MADISON (WITI) -- The Wisconsin National Guard has introduced a service dog to serve as part of its sexual assault response program. "Falcon" is a post-traumatic stress dog. Falcon will be part of an event recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month at the Department of Military Affairs on Madison on Tuesday, April 1st.

2nd Lt. Amber Garfoot, a member of the Wisconsin National Guard Sexual Assault Response Program (SAPR) team, is Falcon's handler.

"Without Falcon in our office, we have learned we can be seen as unapproachable," she said. "What we deal with is frightening. Falcon fosters a level of comfort and trust before we start discussing difficult issues."

Capt. Robert Brania, the Wisconsin National Guard's sexual assault response coordinator (SARC), said sexual assault is a national issue, not just a military issue.

"That's why we are taking part in Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and why we chose this date to introduce Falcon," Brania said.

Falcon, a black Labrador Retriever, is a service dog as opposed to a therapy dog.

Rather than providing long-term therapeutic interaction, Falcon's purpose is to assist with education and outreach to those recovering from PTSD and sexual assault.

The Madison-based Custom Canines Service Dog Academy will also participate in the event at the Department of Military Affairs.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Falcon.