Therapy Dogs Help With Children’s Anxiety in Schools and Courtrooms

Roxy and Quinton look like normal Labrador dogs, but they have a very serious job.

In the past two years, the dogs have helped many teens cope with anxiety when both visiting schools and libraries.

Zara Green, an elementary school student in Darwin, Australia, says, “What I really love about dogs is, if we’re having a bad day, the animal can turn it into one of those really great days.”

Now Roxy and Quinton will probably get a new job.

Earlier this year, Quinton became the first dog to be allowed into courtrooms in the Northern Territory, to calm nervous children as they testify in child protection cases, and for juveniles locked up in detention cells pending a judge’s decision.

Hannah Taino-Spick, the dog’s caretaker said, “When children are in court they really are not allowed to be children, they can’t act or express themselves as children. But when we came with the dogs, you can clearly see changes like, oh I’m a kid, I can act like a kid.”

Labrador retriever Rummy (14 weeks, left), and Lincoln (2 1/2 years) at the Museum of the Dog, New York, March 20, 2019.

Labrador retriever Rummy (14 weeks, left), and Lincoln (2 1/2 years) at the Museum of the Dog, New York, March 20, 2019.

Quinton, the Labrador, has previously performed these tasks in court, namely helping children involved in legal proceedings.

Based on this experience, there is now a demand for therapy dogs to become a constant presence in the Northern Territory justice system.

Northern Territory Attorney General Selena Uibo said she supports and encourages this kind of innovation in the courtroom and is considering feedback from the pilot program.

Wherever they are, in the classroom or in the courtroom, these two Labrador therapy dogs, Roxy and Quinton, make a huge impact on children. [lj/uh]

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