This Therapy Dog Just Won An Award For Comforting Children Who Have To Testify In Court

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For many children testifying in court about abuse can be a terrifying experience. Appearing in court can add even more trauma to what originally happened. That’s where therapy dogs like Rasta can be helpful. Rasta is a 4-year-old golden retriever who works in Platte City, Missouri.

He stands by young victims while they take the stand, allowing them to hold onto his fur as they speak about their horrible memories. Recently he has received an award for accompanying two young sisters to court in January to tell a jury about the sexual abuse they endured, from the county.

Rasta’s job is about more than just comfort — he actually improves the chances of justice. Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd explains how therapy dogs are used across the country to help child victims comfortably tell the truth.

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,” Eric explains.

That’s what this whole thing is about, is about getting to the truth,” he continued. “And doing it in a way that hopefully does not retraumatize that child.”

Would it be nice to see dogs like Rasta become standard procedure in every prosecutor’s office in the country!

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