Courthouse is using dog to calm children

Jersey the Service Dog Comforts Children in Courtroom
Jersey the Service Dog Comforts Children in Courtroom

Judge Russell told KJRH, "Just having her in there is very calming for the children."

"We consider her an advanced intern here at the DA's office," said D.A. Matt Ballard.

That intern is a therapy dog named Jersey. Her role? Comforting kids who are going to testify in the Rogers County Courthouse in Oklahoma.

Jersey's owner, Mindy Baab, told KJRH: "I've worked in juvenile court for 13 years, and I've seen how stressful it is for children. ... We had a child that was rather upset in chambers one day, and Jersey was sitting next to Judge Russell, and I and she put her head on the child's knee and he stopped crying. He patted her head and stopped crying."

Jersey will have a similar role to therapy dogs in school systems. She will be there to relieve stress and support whoever needs it.

Simply being around a dog can have positive effects on your health. Studies have shown canines lift spirits, provide comfort and lower anxiety. And, according to PAWS for People, dogs can even help children overcome emotional disorders.

Which could be why the judge is allowing Jersey in her courtroom.

"I think it relaxes them and gives them something to focus on other than the contentious situation they're here for."

Jersey isn't the only furry friend in courtrooms. A district attorney's office in Pennsylvania is also planning to get a service dog.

First Assistant District Attorney Gene Talerico told WYOU: "I think whether it be an adult or a child, the benefits transcend age, gender, crime type. It doesn't really make a difference."

Jersey is not even a year old, and the Oklahoma court seems to be looking forward to having her for years to come.

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