Dog in New York Court Takes the Witness Stand

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Making Rosie Inconspicuous

"A lot of time when children have been exposed to trauma or sexual abuse, they have a hard time expressing themselves," Stella said. "And then they're put in a courtroom full of strangers, being asked the most intrusive questions and having to sit across from somebody who perpetrated the abuse."

Stella said she noticed an immediate change in the young girl from the day she first met Rosie. "I could physically see her anxiety diminishing," Stella said.

Measures were taken to make sure Rosie was as inconspicuous as possible.

The dog was behind the witness stand and could not be seen by those sitting in the gallery, except when she poked her head up to nudge the victim and the judge gave very specific instructions to the jury that they were not to make any interpretations about why the dog was there.

There are hopes that this could become a more common practice in New York and possibly go beyond children to victims of violent abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Anybody that's been traumatized and wants to shut down—it doesn't matter if it's an adult or child—the dog will help," said Rosie's owner Dale Picard.

For Rosie, this may be the beginning of a new career. The Children's Home has a case next month where two young girls may have to testify in the murder of their mother and, if so, the Home says Rosie will definitely be requested for another day in court.

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