Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 40

RM | NEIGHBORS

by Heather Berry
hberry@ruralmissouri.coop

W

Rescue on a Mission
A therapy duo who's
always there for the kids

40

RURAL MISSOURI | OCTOBER 2020

ithout a sound, she's
by your side gazing up
at you. As you sit at the
table, the furry greeter
quietly hops up in the chair beside
you and pleads with big brown eyes to
be invited to sit.
"Olive will work her way onto your
lap and into your heart before you
know it," says Lisa Groves Bax, Olive's
owner. "That's actually a big part of
her job."
The 7-year-old poodle mix and Lisa
are currently Missouri's only canine
Court Appointed Special Advocate
team. CASA is an organization of
child support volunteers who advocate for abused or neglected children
in the judicial system. Olive, the first
four-footed volunteer, works with Lisa
on the cases she's assigned by the
circuit judge. Olive's job as a certified
therapy dog is to be a calming distraction to children of any age in court
situations.
"Olive offers a friendly face for the
children who need stability during the
trying times they're facing," Lisa says,
adding, "She also offers unconditional
love, something everyone needs."
Lisa, an office administrator for a
Jefferson City law firm, has been a
CASA volunteer for four years. As a
child advocate, Lisa wanted to add
another level of comfort for the children she works with. As a fan of the
CBS television show "Lucky Dog," she
began contacting the show's producers with an idea of training a rescued
dog to help her in court. After months
of persistent outreach, Lisa's phone
finally rang and she found herself
speaking to the show's host and animal trainer, Brandon McMillan.
"Brandon asked me to tell him
more about what a dog would be doing with me on the job," says Lisa. "By
the end of the conversation, he knew
I needed a hypoallergenic dog and a
small breed that would be more like a
teddy bear than a giant."
A couple of weeks later, Brandon
called Lisa and said he had a young
dog he'd rescued six months before
which was likely a perfect match for
Lisa and the mission of CASA.
"Before she ended up in a shelter,
Olive had been living on the streets of
Los Angeles," Lisa says. "Brandon said



Rural Missouri - October 2020

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Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 4
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Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 6
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Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover4
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