Patroit the dog

Children who have suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse in Orange County, California, have found strength to testify against their accusers through the help of a Siberian husky named Patriot who also knows the pain of torment and neglect.
As soon as kids see the scars that wind around the four-year-old canine’s muzzle, “they know that he’s been through a lot, just like they have,” says Kevin Marlin, 47, who adopted Patriot after the dog was rescued by the Orange County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OCSPCA) when he was a pup.
“They’ll look at me and say, ‘Somebody hurt him,’ ” he tells PEOPLE, “and I’ll tell them, ‘Yes. Somebody wasn’t very nice to him, but he’s doing well now.’ Patriot shows that there is hope in moving on with life and getting past the emotional pain. Kids sit and pet him while they talk to attorneys and investigators …