Man’s Best Friend

Service dog, Pella at work in Colorado courtroom (Photo courtesy of CBS)

Service dog, Pella, at work in Colorado courtroom (Photo courtesy of CBS)

Merel, an 18 month old labrador, is helping to relieve the fears of children and teens testifying in court, either as witnesses or victims [1].  The first of her kind in Ontario, Canada, Merel is a service dog with the Child Witness Program.

According to Rachel Crawford, the program coordinator, Merel plays a calming and supportive role.  “…[S]he’s very gentle.  She’s very loving…She’ll often sit right on the couch beside the child with her head on their lap or she’ll sit at their feet.”  Crawford adds, “It’s sort of hard to know how I ever did my work without her.  She helps build an instant rapport. “

Meanwhile, Pella, a labrador/golden retriever mix, is at work for the District Attorney’s Office in Arapaho County, CO [2].  Like Merel, Pella soothes the fears of children too traumatized by what they have seen or experienced to talk.

As investigator Amber Urban explains, when Pella enters the room, “They [children] just want to talk about Pella and they interact with you because if Pella thinks you’re okay, then you must be okay.”

Pella, also, provides comfort to children in the courtroom.  She is, however, trained to stay out of sight beneath the witness stand.  Jurors remain unaware of Pella’s presence, so that it does not influence or distract them.

Altogether, Pella has been involved in 450 cases.  It is tragic there should be so many cases in the world in which children were traumatized, let alone in a single state.  But it is clear man’s best friend has found another way to be of service.

Ask the animals, and they will teach you…For the life of every living thing is in His [God’s] hand, and the breath of every human being” (Job 12: 7 and 10).

[1]  ABC News, “Service Dog Helps Kids Testify in Ontario Court” by Joie Marie McKenzie, 11/4/16, http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/service-dog-kids-testify-ontario-court/story?id=43301875.

[2]  CBS News, “Meet the dog who comforts children who testify in court”, 1/5/17,  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pella-colorado-courthouse-dog-for-traumatized-children-testifying-in-court/.

 

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29 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

29 responses to “Man’s Best Friend

  1. Monochrome nightmares

    An excellent post Anna.
    What more can we ask from
    these wonderful creatures?

  2. Jacky

    Oh Anna this was lovely! I have my Cindy a staffy/jack russell, she is elderly now but she is a gift from God totally. jacky xx

  3. This is wonderful.These therapy dogs are so important!

  4. Love those animals!!! I shared this one on the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/shatteredinhim/

  5. tabitha59reachingout

    How beautiful that these children have a friendly dog to soothe their fears. How sad that so many children have to testify in court. I never heard of these things before. Thanks for sharing, Anna. God bless you. 🙂

  6. These service dogs are so amazing… but it is so horrific that so many children are traumatized like this. Thanks for all that you do to help these victims!

  7. It’s heartbreaking that there should even be a need for such animals–but I’m so very grateful there are. And God, bless Anna Angel! love, stella ❤

    • I have not got my wings quite yet, Stella. Definitely feet of clay (LOL). But thank you for that compliment. You are very dear, and surely one of God’s own. ❤

      • I visualize you with a halo and pretty wings–we all have feet of clay, who are still walking earth, and my halo is constantly in need of polish…and it’s a bit bent on one side! 🙂 Love and blessings to you this week ❤ PS–I've received the first of the pre-approval letters…one more step on the journey north!!!

      • Now, you’ve really made me laugh. :)) Wonderful news about the letter! ❤

      • Oh good, we all need to laugh!! Yes indeed, it’s fabulous news–and God has been dumping truckloads of blessings on me, practically each day! I decided to order new furniture for the first time in my life–Amazon is delivering this week, I’m WAY Excited!!! And God keeps sending more angels to assist with every need–I’m overwhelmed by His great Love and faithfulness…and Favor–so full of JOY!!

  8. Many people denigrate animals when they say something like, a person ‘acted like an animal’ when they try to describe someone’s bad behaviour. They couldn’t be more wrong. In God’s kingdom, animals nearly always ‘teach’ us how to treat others lovingly and with respect. They teach us to be faithful too. Have you seen the film ‘Hachi – a dog’s tale’, starring Richard Gere, Anna? This illustrates my point. We as human beings could learn a thing or two from the animal kingdom.

  9. This is wonderful, so glad these amazing dogs are able to help children. Dogs are amazing! I love hearing how they help in so many different ways.

  10. Thank you, Anna.

    Our Dad uses so many of the lesser aspects of His Creation to attempt to arrest our attention away from our own agendas. His love is found all around us… how often I continue to miss this in my own attempts to “find Him.” The irony of my own misguided striving.

    So much beauty.. so much of Him that would be seen if I would just stop and listen and “see.”

    Thank you~

    David

    • I am glad you liked the post, David. I really believe that about beauty being all around us. Human beings have managed, through selfishness and sin, to inject tremendous ugliness into the world. When we are in pain, it can be difficult to see past that. But God (and the beauty which is a reflection of Him) is there, despite that. Be well.

      A.

  11. excellent post, thank you so much for sharing
    I adore dog and cat
    kisses

  12. I saw this story on the news the other day. It’s amazing how things have changed in this world! If this dog can help in tense situations to get to a truth, then more power to it!

    Steve

  13. This is such a great idea to put off pressures to kids under stressful situations such as the boy in Ontario, Canada.
    A sweet post which reminds us how trustful and faithful animals can be.
    Love & best wishes dear Anna! 😀

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