Therapy dog comforts children in the court

 

Court proceedings can be intimidating to anyone, especially young children.

Now when they take the stand they’ll have a four-legged friend at their side.

Deputy Daphne is the newest member of the Weiss Advocacy Center providing comfort to children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse.

Daphne is a one and half year-old black lab. She likes playing with her toys and getting treats like any other dog, but every time she puts on her special bandana it’s time to go to work. Her job is being a comfort animal for kids going through the court system.

Claudnyse Holloman, of the Weiss Child Advocacy Center, said testifying is one of the hardest parts.

“A lot of times the child is just looking at Daphne and that’s the only person they see in the courtroom,” Holloman said.

The Weiss Child Advocacy Center specializes in helping kids ages 2 to 17 that have suffered abuse.

“The children are talking about some the most horrific things that could’ve happened to anybody,” Holloman said. “And so Daphne is there, she lays on them, they lay on her, and she plays with them. The kids really feel comfortable with her.”

Daphne started out as leader dog for the blind, but quickly found an alternative career.

Daphne has had more than a year of training, but anybody that works with her said she’s a natural when it comes to kids.

“I’ve been working here for 10 years and this year has been the most rewarding having her here,” said Gale Hartwell, a forensic interviewer. “We’ve had her for about four months now and she lights up whenever she sees the children and the children go crazy when they see her, they get so excited, and it makes it easier to talk with them during the interviews.”

Daphne has a wish list of items to help keep her happy and healthy, including things like treats, toys, food and more. You can help fulfill Daphne’s wish lists by heading to her website.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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