Regina Hauptli & Burke
Yet another first.
Our Vibrant “People” today are Regina Hauptli and her canine work partner, Burke. Regina is dedicated to helping children who might not have anyone to stand up for them. She and Burke are assigned to the Elkhart Circuit Court, Juvenile Division where they comfort and assist kids who must come into the courtroom to face their abusers. They are masterful at relating with the youngsters and helping them deal with what can be uncomfortable and emotional situations.
Juvenile court has been called “the forgotten court” by some, but it is critically important to the health and strength of the community. “All children matter,” Juvenile Court Magistrate Deborah Domine wrote when nominating Regina. “And those children who are victims should feel supported when they come into the courtroom and ask for better. Regina and Burke help make that happen.”
Burke is a three-and-a-half-year-old cross between a Golden Retriever and a Yellow Lab. Regina and Burke trained together and now work paw-in-hand for their young clients. “My caseload are my kids,” Regina says. Burke wags in agreement. You can easily see how much he enjoys being with the children.
Burke goes to work each day and does his job diligently. “He can be a bit of a ham,” Regina admits. “He will pout when there are no children around.”
The work that Regina and Burke do can be a challenge. Friends and family are one release for Regina. So too is travel. She has been to Alaska once and plans to go back. Australia is also on the must-see list.
Animals are a big part of Regina’s life. In addition to working with Burke, she has two big dogs at home. They are Burke’s buddies when he is not on the job. She also intends to find out how many zoo’s she can visit in her lifetime.
Regina lives in Elkhart, but was raised in Nappanee. There she lived with mom, her late father and four sisters. Interesting fact: Every family member has the initials R.A.H.
Regina has been employed at CAPS for 15 years. She went back to school when she was in her late thirties. She received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana Tech. Burke has not started college yet, but he is a certified professional. He passed his most recent evaluation with flying colors.
When not on the job, Burke enjoys his squeaky toys and playing fetch. But make no mistake, Burke is a working dog. “Burke sets a tone,” Deborah Domine says. “He has a calming effect.” Burke is there for the children, but he also has a positive impact on those who work in the court. Says Ms. Domine, “He makes it easier for us to do our job. He lightens the load.”
Regina did express some doubt that she would have been nominated as one of Elkhart County’s Vibrant People without Burke. Not true, Regina. You are innovative, enthusiastic and committed – just the kind of vibrant person that makes Elkhart County the great place it is.