Service Dog Helps Scared Children Testify In Court

A Lab mix named Merel is the first service dog used in Ontario, Canada, courts to comfort children who are called to testify.

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Merel helps keep kids calm.  Via London Family Court Clinic/ABC News
Merel helps keep kids calm. Via London Family Court Clinic/ABC News
Stephanie Brown

Testifying in court can be a scary and difficult process, especially for children. But man’s best friend is making it a little easier.

An 18-month-old black Labrador Retriever/Bernese mountain dog mix named Merel is helping calm Canadian children and teens before they have to testify in court, CBC News reports.

Merel works for the Child Witness Program at the London Family Clinic in London, Ontario. The specially-trained service dog is the first of her kind in the Canadian province, according to CBC News.

“She’s just a very calming presence,” program coordinator Rachel Crawford told CBC News. “She doesn’t move quickly, she doesn’t make any noise. She’s just there to provide comfort and support when they’re having to come and face the task of testifying.”

NSD Doc loved showing all the kids at the Humane Society his ‘visit’ command.

#NSD #servicedogsforautism #servicedogsforptsd #Servicedogsofinstagram

Posted by National Service Dogs on Thursday, March 17, 2016

Merel received extensive training from National Service Dogs in Cambridge, Ontario, an organization funded by donations. All her handler has to do is issue a command — such as, “Merel, visit!” — and the facility dog, as she is often called, will sit with a child witness or put her head on their lap — whatever she can do to help.

How could anyone be afraid when there’s a sweet puppy dog face looking up at you?

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