Court is a stressful environment for anyone. But it’s even worse for children. Sometimes children have to testify in court against their abusers, and that’s where Rasta the therapy dog steps in.
For many children, even attending court and the justice process can add to their trauma. Luckily for them, Rasta is on hand to calm them down and give them a cuddle. He’s a beautiful four-year-old golden retriever and a really good boy.
He works in Platte City, Missouri. He stands next to young victims of abuse and comforts them as they recount details of their trauma. It is hard, but they to pat, stroke and even dig into his fur as a comfort.
His award was received after a particularly stressful case, during which he accompanied two young girls to court. They told the jury about the sexual abuse they had suffered. However, this was a lot easier because Rasta was by their side at this difficult time.
What many people don’t know, however, is that therapy dogs like Rasta actually improve the chances of justice. If victims are more comfortable to tell the truth, their side of events is more accurately told. Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd told WDAF all about it.
“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 said.
“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.”
Rasta deserves this award for his work as a therapy dog, as do others around the world. Share this story of help and love with your family and friends, and check out similar stories on Happiest.