Meet The Court Therapy Dogs Easing The Anxieties of Child Victims as They Testify
They may not be judges or lawyers, but these adorable pooches play one of the most important roles in an Oklahoma courthouse.
When young victims of crime are called to testify in court, they rely on therapy dogs Boo, Nala, Chance, Missy, Morgan and Zack to help calm their nerves.
According to Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, "it is flat-out a miracle to see the difference between children who do not have a therapy dog versus someone who actually has a therapy dog."
Like therapy dogs in other circumstances, the loveable pups are meant to sit beside a child on the stand, and ease their anxieties as they prepare to testify.
One of the dogs, Boo, is not quite big enough to reach the child, so his handler created a custom stand to prop the pup up.
Or, as victim advocate Sally Van Schenck said, "[children] can be afraid of a defendant in the courtroom; the dogs act as protectors, not that that ever happened, but it makes that child feel safer."
Sometimes, according to KOTV, the suspect will see that a child is calm enough to spill the truth and enter a plea so the victim will not have to testify in the trial at all.
The dogs and their owners, who all work as volunteers, are even having fun helping the victims in need.
"What better way to help people than with your best buddy?" one of the dogs' handlers said.