Newest court employee: Dog providing comfort to kids on the stand

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (WPVI) -- Man's best friend is doing some much-needed work, as a very special dog has been enlisted at a local courthouse.

His job is helping kids testify in tough cases, and providing them with comfort on the stand.

What looks like training for service dogs is actually the humans learning to interact with highly skilled dogs, because one of them is about to become their newest co-worker.

Next week, 'Bosch' will be a permanent Dutchess County employee. His specialty: providing comfort.

"He'll walk into any room and find the person who's the most stressed out and start giving affection," said Dale Picard of ECAD, East Coast Assistance Dogs.

That calming nature will be put to the test. Bosch will be splitting time between the district attorney's office and Children's Services, often working with kids who have been sexually abused.

"It provides them with the feeling that they can tell their story in a safe way," said ECAD's Sherry Burger.

If Bosch has a way with kids, it's no surprise: his great-grandmother was a pioneer.

In 2011, Eyewitness News profiled Rosie, who was the first service dog used in a New York State courtroom, helping a teen testify against her abuser.

The conviction was appealed, in part because of Rosie's presence, but upheld, clearing the way for Bosch, who has already comforted an abuse victim preparing for trial.

"Not every dog has the ability to recognize anxiety and stress the way Rosie did, the way Bosch does," said Assistant District Attorney Kristine Whelan.

Bosch and Rosie were trained by ECAD, the non-profit which has placed over 250 service dogs with a wide range of specialties over the last 20 years. Bosch is their first full-time courthouse dog.

The training will last a few more days. The benefits could pay off for years to come.

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