Warden: Adopted dog works as therapy for offenders

Ceree gives her handler, Joseph Zelk, a high-five on Thursday at Cremer Therapeutic Community Center. Ceree recently came to the center as a therapeutic house dog for the offenders.

Ceree gives her handler, Joseph Zelk, a high-five on Thursday at Cremer Therapeutic Community Center. Ceree recently came to the center as a therapeutic house dog for the offenders. Photo by Mandi Steele.

Usually those who enter Cremer Therapeutic Community Center stay for a 12-week program, but Ceree is there for life.

Ceree, a 4-year-old English setter mix, was adopted by the center on May 13 to be the first dog in the facility’s new Dogs of Treatment program.

“The effect she’s had on the men here are noticeable even though she’s only been here two weeks,” said Joseph Zelk, Ceree’s primary handler.

Zelk, from Springfield, will finish his time served at the Fulton facility on Tuesday and be leaving Ceree in the care of another offender. Though Zelk will miss his new friend, he says he knows he’s leaving Ceree in good hands.

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