WeAreTheWorld Blogfest: Dogs Who Heal Trauma

Even if we won’t consciously admit it, at some level we all know that connecting with animals heals us. That’s why I was so touched by this story in the Australian news this week of dogs who worked with trauma victims in the Victorian court system.

https://www.9news.com.au/good-news/2018/02/22/06/25/dogs-to-support-victims-of-crime-in-court

Dogs are set to assist victims of crime giving evidence in courtrooms across Australia.

The innovative idea has already been rolled out at the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) in Victoria, where three-year-old black Labrador Coop helps those giving often harrowing testimonies.

Coop the three-year-old black lab.(9NEWS)

“These dogs are highly trained, but also have a sense of intuition about what people need,” Julie Morrison, from the OPP told TODAY.

“(Coop) feeds off the energy of people,” Ms Morrison said, adding that canines seek physical contact with humans.

While Coop does not enter the courtroom, she regularly sits alongside victims appearing via video link in another room, The Age reports.

She has been known to lick away the tears of complainants and ease their nerves.

“These dogs are highly trained, but also have a sense of intuition about what people need,” Julie Morrison, from the OPP told TODAY.

“(Coop) feeds off the energy of people,” Ms Morrison said, adding that canines seek physical contact with humans.

While Coop does not enter the courtroom, she regularly sits alongside victims appearing via video link in another room, The Age reports.

She has been known to lick away the tears of complainants and ease their nerves.

Although judges must approve of the canine’s presence, juries are unaware they are in the room as they are not allowed to appear on-screen to ensure impartiality, according to The Age.

Solicitor John Cain said he’d be “astounded” if the support dog idea did not take off in other courtrooms given the success at the OPP.

“Anything that helps, and makes it easier for victims and witness to give evidence…is got to be a good thing,” Mr Cain said.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018

13 thoughts on “WeAreTheWorld Blogfest: Dogs Who Heal Trauma

  1. Having had a pet dog for almost 13 years, I am so aware of how dogs can understand human emotions and feelings and connect with us at a level no other animal can! This is such a heartwarming story! The moment I read ‘dogs’ in your link, I just hopped over to read this beautiful post!
    Thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A friend of ours has a son with Asperger’s and he uses a therapy dog to overcome his anxiety. The dog is a HUGE St. Bernard, and simply adorable. You’d never know the son has any issues, because the dog provides such comfort for him that he can interact on a typical level. We got to hear him talk about the animal in a speech—a public speech!—and it was wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

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