VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has a new new employee: Facility Dog Zuhey.

The 5-year-old lab joined the team on June 16, after training at Service Dogs of Virginia in Charlottesville. Zuhey worked with handlers regularly at the office to ease anxiety for crime victims, and relieve stress for CWA Office employees, according to a press release.

Courtesy: VBCWA Office

Many victims or witnesses to crime have experienced some level of trauma, and can have anxiety when preparing with prosecutors pre-trial. Zuhey also helps prosecutors manage vicarious or secondary trauma associated with working in their field.

Courtesy: VBCWA Office

“A lot of the victims and witnesses coming to the courthouse are coming here to re-live the worst moments of their life,” Stolle said. “To have to explain those to a judge, a jury or an attorney can be a stressful event on top of everything they’ve gone through. Just Zuhey’s presence gives people the ability to make it through these very difficult times.”

Service Dogs of Virginia is a non-profit organization that raises, trains and places dogs to assist people with disabilities and provides facility dogs for courthouses, counseling centers, schools and other therapeutic settings.

Zuhey resides with her primary handler, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Robin Bland, and spends time in the Victim-Witness Office during the workday with her secondary handler, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick Connolly.

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