The courtroom can be an extremely stressful place for any party such as the victims, defendants, lawyers, jurors, and even just those who are watching. Even though it is stressful for adults, it can be even worse for kids. Imagine the stress a child goes through in a courtroom, so one court in Platte City, Missouri uses a therapy dog for children when they testify. This tactic may be something all courts require.
Often times, when children testify it can be super hard for them, especially when going against their abuser or parent. While the situations get tough, Rasta a Golden Retriever helps them by sitting right next to them. When he sits there, the children can pet him, hold him, and even hug him if needed.
Recently Rasta sat in the courtroom during a pretty upsetting case. He sat next to the two victims who were young girls. They had been sexually abused. When they spoke Rasta sat right next to them, comforting them in the awful situation. For his amazing support during the troubling case, he won an award.
Some believe that having a dog in the courtroom helps people speak the truth. A prosecutor who believes this from Platte County named Eric Zahnd explains,
“What we have found is that having that dog present, either during a deposition or even while that child is testifying on the stand, that because the animal helps the child become more comfortable that we do a better job of eliciting truthful information about some really terrible things that may have happened to that child.”
He adds, “That’s what this whole thing is about, is about getting to the truth. And doing it in a way that hopefully does not retraumatize that child.”