WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) — A new service dog at the Washington County Juvenile Detention Center is going to help kids during some of the most difficult times of their lives.
Max, a three-month, golden retriever/poodle mix will have the job of assisting children while they testify in court. He'll be right beside the child testifying and will help curtail nervousness and anxiety.
Court officials say petting Max helps the child control their emotions and relax.
The puppy is currently receiving training and so far, he's able to sit, stay, and interact with people.
In about one year, with the proper training, Max will be a certified therapy dog, and will become a permanent employee at the JDC.
Governor Asa Hutchinson passed legislation in 2015 to allow therapy dogs in courtrooms. Employees at the JDC said it's really made a difference in the kids they see.
Circuit Judge Stacey Zimmerman said kids miss their families and are frequently scared, so having Max present, will help them feel more comfortable.
"It just gives me a ray of sunshine and a ray of hope that, that child's gonna make it through a really bad thing," Zimmerman said.