Bucks Writs - Fall 2017 - 12




- By Thomas P. Donnelly, Esquire

have a great dog. Her name is Scarlett. Scarlett likes
to hold hands. She sits at attention, paw extended,
with anyone who is willing to so much as acknowledge
her presence. She has penetratingly dark eyes that still say
puppy despite her K-9 adolescence. She regularly rolls over
and throws herself in your path lest you walk by without
a rub of her belly. She is the definition of sweet and
embodies everything we love about pets. Scarlett is a Roxy
Therapy Dog and one of thirty-six trained and certified
members of the Courthouse team providing comfort to
children facing the stress of legal proceedings in the Bucks
County Court of Common Pleas.

More than seven years ago, Judge Mellon became aware
of courthouse therapy dog programs in other jurisdictions
and solicited the Roxy Therapy Dog organization to broaden
its service to the community and extend its existing reading
program to the Courthouse. Roxy Therapy Dogs is a local
nonprofit providing support and comfort to children in
Bucks County through interaction with trained therapy dogs
and their volunteer companions. His Honor regards the
program as a tremendous success. He believes the program
brings incredible value to the public, the court system and
to the administration of matters before the Court. Judge
Mellon clearly sees the impact of the dogs in Dependency
Court where children are often required by circumstance
to relive some of the worst times of their lives, and testify
about the very reasons why they may be separated from
family. His Honor recently relayed to me at the Bench Bar
Conference that "the dogs bring stability and calm to an
otherwise very stressful situation."
They change the atmosphere of the
courthouse and can even help the
parties to interact with each other
with greater civility. The impact of
the dogs is readily apparent and
infectious such that the courthouse
staff regularly make special visits to
the dogs and their volunteer handlers
when they are in service.

Scientists have not been able to explain the connection
between animals and stress management, but have
repeatedly confirmed it exists. Most recently, a 2017
study conducted by researchers from the University of
Florida concluded that dogs provide
valuable social support for kids
who are in stressful situations. The
relationship between dogs and a
child's ability to focus on tasks is
well documented. Dog admirers
know even without scientists that
the wag of a tail is an entré to a
meaningful and fulfilling, even if
short term, relationship.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bucks Writs - Fall 2017

Bucks Writs - Fall 2017 - 1
Bucks Writs - Fall 2017 - 2
Bucks Writs - Fall 2017 - 3
Bucks Writs - Fall 2017 - 4
Bucks Writs - Fall 2017 - 5
Bucks Writs - Fall 2017 - 6
Bucks Writs - Fall 2017 - 7
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