- Associated Press - Sunday, July 3, 2016

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Sometimes a name is more than simply a name.

For Lucky, a terrier mix, his name signifies his journey. Because not every dog endures what he did and comes out alive on the other side. Even less have an opportunity to help people who have gone through similar circumstances.

You see, Lucky and his previous owner were the victims of domestic violence.

“The abuser tried to use Lucky to retaliate against the victim,” said Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Detective Angie Lovegrove. “Many times, a dog will be killed during this process.”

The victim, the victim’s mother and Lucky were all abused on the day officers arrived at their former residence. Lucky was taken in by Lovegrove while the victim left her abuser.

Feeling a financial pinch, the victim was worried about being able to afford Lucky’s long-term care. She had to give him up. Once again, a name became more than a name as Lovegrove decided to keep him.

But instead of becoming a normal pet, Lucky would get the chance to help people.

Sheriff Wayne Anderson gave the approval for Lucky to become an office pet, a first for SCSO. All of his care and food is paid for by Lovegrove or SCSO officers. More than that, he offers comfort for victims of domestic violence whenever they have to come into the office and give an interview.

Lovegrove said victims will pet Lucky or he will sit on their lap while she conducts the interview. She said it helps while victims have to relive some of the worst moments in their lives.

And Lucky now looks forward to going to work.

“If he doesn’t get to go to work with me, he gets very upset,” she said.

Lucky has gotten comfortable enough at the SCSO to wander around. Some officers arrange for Lucky to spend the entire day with them. He’ll also visit the jail and brighten up the days of employees.

SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart says Lucky is a big stress relief for employees.

While Lucky did not make it out of his abusive situation completely unscathed - he walks with a limp - he has found a new home at SCSO.

“The ultimate goal is to use Lucky to raise awareness about domestic violence,” Earhart said.

Lucky: a truly fitting name.

___

Information from: Kingsport Times-News, http://www.timesnews.net

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