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Lone Star Chapter

South Central Region

Nicole LoStracco

Meet Nicole LoStracco.
Nicole LoStracco is the District Attorney in Nacogdoches, Texas. She learned about Canine Companions through a lawyer in her office who had previously worked in Tyler, where the first courthouse dog was placed in Texas. Nicole said "We have a bird (Pickles) in the office that our victims and witnesses love to play with. So we had already seen what a difference interacting with an animal made for our child victims. The natural progression was to apply for a Canine Companions dog.” Her request for a dog was approved and in February of 2014 Nicole traveled to Oceanside, California to attend Team Training. At team training Nicole was matched with Helper, a lab golden cross that was raised in Frisco, Texas by Puppy Raiser Carol Long.

Helper and Pickles

Much of what Nicole does with Helper is confidential. However, Nicole was able to give this example of the value Helper adds in the DA’s office... "Helper makes what would normally be a scary setting feel more comfortable for our victims. We had one child victim who had to spend 4 days at the office while her abuser was on trial, and she didn't complain once. Helper hung out with her the whole time. When the trial was over, she said she had fun and wanted to know if she got to come back and do it again the next week.” Great work Ms. Helper!

Nicole is married to Jim and they have two wonderful children. Juliette is 12 years old and Trey is 10 years old. Helper’s influence has extended beyond the courthouse to this active family. Nicole shared..."Personally, Helper has made some positive changes in my family. Until now, my children have never had much occasion to spend time with people with physical disabilities. Because of Helper, they have become aware of folks in all different situations and are not uncomfortable anymore. In fact, they now spend a lot of time telling people that they should get a Canine Companions for Independence dog and how much help they would be to them!”

Thank you Nicole and Helper for their contributions to Canine Companions for Independence and the Lone Star Chapter!