For the first time in Canadian history, a trauma dog is providing comfort to two children in court as they testify about sexual abuse.
Hawk, a four-year-old Labrador retriever, is on loan to the Calgary Police Service, trained to work as a trauma dog in the victim assistance unit.
According to multiple news outlets, Hawk lay beside a young girl as she answered questions via closed-circuit television during trial Tuesday.
The girl is testifying against her father, who has been accused of sexually abusing her.
Even as she became agitated and upset, Hawk lay there unwavered, receiving pats and comforting the girl.
“He is extremely low energy. He loves people,” Sgt. Brent Hutt told CTV News.
“People can be crying and screaming or in some cases getting relatively aggressive with him when they’re petting him. It doesn’t faze him.”
The girl's nine-year-old brother will also eventually testify, with Hawk by his side as well.
There are other trauma dogs in Canada, reports Global News, but none have been used in a courtroom.
The accused’s lawyer, Alain Helpner, told Global News he has no issue with the dog assisting the children.
“It’s the atmosphere for the child… judges see it as a better atmosphere for the child and why wouldn’t they allow that,” he said.
The trial is expected to continue to the end of the week.
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