In Canada, a Labrador Retriever helped a 10-year-old girl overcome the pain of testifying in an sex assault case.
On Tuesday, a Labrador rested calmly in a bed and at the girl’s feet, as she spoke in the witness box in Surrey provincial court. The Lab is also the first dog to assist a child during a trial.
Caber, a yellow Labrador,eased the girl’s anxiety so she could provide a full and candid account of the terrible incident that allegedly wronged her the previous year, said Crown lawyer Winston Sayson.
“When the child was testifying, she would reach down to just pet or rub the dog. When she broke down during the testimony, we had to stand down,” said Sayson. “She basically lay down beside the dog. They laid down together and it really helped her calm down and she was able to return to court and complete her testimony.”
According to Crown and a victims’ support worker, the successful integration of a dog in the courtroom should be seen as baby steps towards expanded use of dogs in court trials.
Aside from Caber, there are other five dogs believed to be accredited to assist victims in Canada. One of those dogs is Hawk, who supported a victim in Calgary in December 2014. Another dog was permitted in an Edmonton courtroom in March.
Image and article source: National Post