Episode 13 – Advocating & Teaming Up In Alabama (Part 1)

Colleen kicks off this two part episode with 4 members of the Alabama facility dog community. Ann, Jana, Patricia,Tamera and Tonya share how they came together to launch their statewide efforts to benefit the communities they serve. This episode discusses how both the National Children’s Advocacy Center and the H.E.R.O. Program were founded, and who they serve.

Tamara Martin (pictured) has facility dog Willow.  Tamara works the Office of Prosecution Services in Montgomery, AL.  Tamara is Grant Administrator and facility dog handler.

Ann Leith (primary handler and full-time handler) and Jana Thomas (secondary handler) have facility dog, Wilson.  They work at the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville, AL

Patricia Falcon has facility dog Kuzco. She is the ED of the James M. Barrie Center for Children (CAC) in Gadsden, AL

Tonya Willingham has facility dog Fitzgerald (Fitz). Tonya is a former prosecutor in the Shelby County, AL District Attorney’s office who switched from prosecuting child cases to being a full-time dog handler.


Episode Highlights 

2:05 – Meet Patricia Falcon the Executive Director for the James Berry Center for Children in Gadsden Alabama and handler of Kuzco 

5:00 – National Children’s Advocacy Center Ann Lee handler shares Wilson’s role at her facility 

7:45 – Jana Thomason Family Advocate explains the team approach to managing Wilson 

10:45 – Tonya Willingham transitioned from a District Attorney to handler of facility dog Fitzgerald working out of the Shelby County Courthouse

13:00 – Tamera Martin of the H.E.R.O.’s program – Helping. Empowering. Restoring. Overcoming. 

15:10 – Victims Of Crime Act’s role in this program 

16:00 – Providing ongoing training for the 10 facility dogs and handlers in the program

18:30 – How Tamera brought the H.E.R.O. Program grew 

20:35 – The resources with in the National Children’s Advocacy Center 

22:05 – Creating a central location to provide services to support victims 

25:30 – Working as a team to support the facility dogs 

28:30 – Colleen & Jana reflect on the role of secondary handler

30:00 – Wilson makes a difference for 2 children 

32:00 – More facilities in Alabama finding the program

35:45 – Long term impact in the community

38:00 – Teaching children about how the dogs that have helped them live their life. 

39:15 – Ensuring the facility dog receives the breaks they need while working

41:00 – Tonya identifies and fills the need for a facility dog in her area

45:45 – Colleen shares what you can expect in part 2 of this episode. 


Links To References

H.E.R.O. Program

National Children’s Advocacy Center

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