find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Courthouse dogs make testifying bearable

Courthouse dogs make testifying bearable

courthouse dog

Taking the stand as a witness can be a terrifying affair, particularly if you are confronting your attacker, but a comforting nuzzle from the courthouse Labrador can make the experience a little easier.

US-based organisation Courthouse Dogs employs 87 dogs working across 28 states to provide a range of services to people moving through the justice system.  

“This adversarial system [of testifying in front of your attacker] is brutal,” Ellen O’Neill of Courthouse Dogs said. “A lot of people come out damaged by it.”

But cuddling a dog can help. According to the Courthouse Dogs website, “dogs humanise the justice system” – ironic though that may sound.

Dogs provide unconditional emotional support during stressful legal proceedings, particularly for kids or victims of sexual violence.

However, not every dog can be a courthouse dog – it takes a very special temperament to succeed in the job.

Jill Felice, founder of Assistance Dogs of the West, said courthouse dogs need to be patient and unperturbed by distractions.

“The courthouse dog, to me, is the dog that has the temperament of being very low aroused – not much bothers them,” she said.

“There is not much reactivity in the dog at all. They are a dog that wants to cuddle, that likes to be petted.”

Courthouse dogs can’t be bored easily and need to be “attentive, without being pushy”, “self-contained and competent“.

“[A courthouse dog is a] dog that is able to manage emotional strain in voices without getting stressed themselves, a dog that is accepting of the public,” she continued.

The courthouse dogs are owned by a single person but can be handled by multiple people so long as they are fluent in doggy ‘language’.  


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Courthouse dogs make testifying bearable
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...