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Therapy Dog initiative receives funding from Tomah Health Foundation

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Tomah Health Community Foundation donates to Brighter Tomorrows
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Jan Bruder - Brighter Tomorrows Program Coordinator
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Brian Eirschele - VP of Tomah Health Community Foundation

TOMAH, Wis. (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 is adding a therapy dog to support the services it provides to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault survivors throughout Monroe County.

Brian Eirschele, VP of the Tomah Health Community Foundation, presented a check of $1500 to help fund the program. The donation is part of the Foundation's goal to contribute to community improvement efforts. When they heard about the Therapy Dog program and how it will help children going through emotional moments during recovery it was an easy decision to help with funding.

Jan Bruder, Program Coordinator, accepted the donation acknowledging there is a greater need for support now more than ever as Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault incidents have doubled or almost tripled during the pandemic.

"Our thought was, is there something we can do that can help provide additional support and comfort to these victims?" Bruder said. "So when we heard about other programs doing it we started to do some extensive research and thought this is something we want to bring to our county to help the survivors that we serve."

A Golden Retriever named "Sol" is still a puppy and will be given to Brighter Tomorrows in about five weeks. From there he will undergo basic dog training courses and then eventually pair up with his handler to develop his therapy skills.

As a therapy dog, Sol will play a vital role in helping children or adults involved in Domestic Abuse or Sexual Assault situations. From the early stages when survivors are initially reporting the crimes throughout the legal processes and into recovery.

"Sol will be able to help victims when they testify in court." Bruder said. "He'll actually be trained to sit on their feet and sit up on the stand with them to provide that additional comfort and support."

Brighter Tomorrows will also work with local law enforcement to have Sol available during times of crisis when situations require it.

A charity within itself, the Tomah Health foundation relies on community donations to return the support back to the community through grants and donations. A bulk of their funding comes from contributions during an annual golf tournament hosted by Hiawatha Golf Course, Tomah.

This year’s golf outing is scheduled Aug. 6 and over the past year’s the event has helped to financially support 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., Tomah Boys & Girls Club, Junior Achievement and Family Promise of Monroe County.

For more information on either Brighter Tomorrows or Tomah Health Community Foundation, please go to these websites: Foundation - Tomah Health & Brighter Tomorrows (mocobrightertomorrows.com)

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Joe Minney

Joe is Weekend News Anchor at WXOW

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