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Hayward is a true canine hero because he saves the lives of children every day.

The Labrador Retriever-Golden Retriever mix serves as a facility dog at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Hammond, LA, where he works with children who have been sexually abused or severely neglected.

Hayward’s role is to serve as a child’s comfort item as he or she tells the interviewer what happened to them. The goal is that the child will not have to testify in court, but if they do, Hayward accompanies them to the witness stand so they feel protected and more comfortable.

“We have had children come to the CAC to tell the horrible things that have happened to them only because of Hayward,” said Hayward’s handler Lori Banks.

He also accompanies Lori and other staff members to presentations to educate children and adults about preventing child abuse and how to recognize and report abuse.

 “Hayward’s presence in our office brings comfort to our staff also,” Lori said. “We deal with the trauma of children daily.”

Hayward’s wonderful work has earned him several awards, including an honorable mention in the Service Dog category of the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence.

Mixed-breed dogs, like Hayward, are part of the American Kennel Club through the AKC Canine Partners program for all dogs. For information, look here.