Indiana Canine Companion Alliance
INCCA is part of the division of victim advocacy programs under the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault. This canine companion program is designed to reduce the stress of children, adults or families who have been victims of a violent crime. The primary focus for this program is for victims of sex crimes.
The canine companion is available to support victims during initial interview, follow-up interviews, counseling sessions, family meetings and throughout the criminal justice process. The program has been modeled after other programs in the country that are doing extraordinary work with their canine companions. The canine is a silent companion whose presence provides comfort, bolsters confidence and encourages open communication when a person may need it the most. The canine is present and available for hands-on support at a time when significant others may not be able to be. Animals do not judge and their relaxed presence have a soothing effect on people, providing emotional security and comfort to the victim as well as helping to break down any barriers of fear, anxiety and distrust. Animals have been proven to be a source of unconditional love and help restore balance to life.
If you are or are connected with a program that works with victims and are interested in learning more about INCCA or want to find out how you can start a program in your area please contact INCASA at
to discuss the program or schedule a site visit.
Indiana’s First Canine Companion In Court - Ellie
Ellie is a healthy two and a half year old Black Lab/Greyhound mix. She has been a service dog in training since she was eight weeks old through a non-profit organization, Paws and Think. Ellie was donated by her first puppy raiser, Julie R., to Paws and Think to be trained as a service dog. Julie is a nurse practitioner and took Ellie with her to the office, meetings and the clinical sites (hospitals, group therapy sessions). When Julie and her family moved, Ellie was placed with Andrea R., then a senior in high school. Ellie was part of Andrea’s senior project. Andrea was responsible for teaching and reinforcing commands. After Andrea left for college, Ellie was transferred to another puppy raiser, Molly.
Each puppy-raiser and her trainer, Kevin K. have contributed to her adapting well to new surroundings and people. She has a strong skill set of obedience and knows over thirty commands in which she daily works on to keep commands consistent. Ellie is well socialized with humans and animals. Her calm nature is what makes her the perfect canine for her role working as an advocate with victims of violent crimes. She is well mannered in public and instinctively knows when she is on the job.
INCASA handlers are very aware of Ellie’s demeanor and the communication skills needed to assure that she continues to adapt well to new situations. When she is not working, Ellie is just like any other dog. She loves to run, chase balls, swim in lakes, play with her favorite squeaky toys and give as well as receive love. Her favorite thing to do is to play tag with other dogs. Ellie being able to adapt well to changes, meeting new people, developing an instant bond with children and interacting with humans and animals daily has made her the perfect canine companion for advocating for children and adults, serving as the first canine companion for victims in Indiana.
INCASA and Ellie would like to extend our gratitude to all those who have graciously helped with donating food, providing vet care, training, photography and participating in fundraisers for our pilot program INCCA (Indiana Canine Companion Alliance) and Ellie.
- ICAN – Indiana Canine Assistance Network
- Dr. Cindy Baker – Bargersville Veterinary Hospital
- Aaron & Erin O’Mara – Augustion’s Italian Restaurant
- Dave Yurasko – Shooting Stars Photography
- Sportz Comedy Club
- Izzy’s Place
- Kathy Bunch – Glamour Pets
Ellie In The News
- Interview on WISH TV