Therapy Dog Wins Major Award For Comforting Frightened Kids In Court
Going to court is a stressful experience for most adults, so you can imagine how scary it is for small children. Things are specifically scary for kids when they have to come to court to testify against their abusers, but luckily for the children, therapy dogs are waiting to help them!
One of these therapy dogs is a four-year-old golden retriever named Rasta, who is always on hand in court to help out these kids and give them a cuddle.
Rasta works at a courthouse in Platte City, Missouri, where he stands next to young victims of abuse, giving them the strength that they need to get through their court appearance. As they testify, the kids can pet or stroke Rasta if they start to feel afraid.
Rasta was recently given an award for his work after a particularly stressful case in which he helped two young girls who had been sexually abused. Testifying about the abuse they suffered in court was terrifying for the two girls, but having Rasta there with them made it a whole lot easier.
Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd explained that service dogs like Rasta help improve the chances of getting justice, as the canines get victims to be more comfortable telling their stories in court.
“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,” Zahnd said.
“That’s what this whole thing is about, is about getting to the truth,” he added. “And doing it in a way that hopefully does not retraumatize that child.”
Rasta definitely deserved this award for his amazing, calming presence to these young victims of abuse! Thank you for all that you do, Rasta!