As children sit at the bench to testify in some horrific cases in Rogers County, a therapy dog named Jerzy sits right by their side.
She has been known to put a paw up on a child’s hand or place her head in their lap while they talk to the jury.
Walking through the doors of a courthouse isn't an easy task for everyone. You would hope that as you gather the strength you need to walk into a courtroom you have a friend, someone who can help support you.
"The mood changes for everyone when Jerzy walks in," said Judge Lara Russell.
Jerzy the Aussiedoodle is that friend for children who are testifying in Rogers County.
"Even if you have a support person with you, they are seated far away from you. Jerzy is right there, an immediate comfort," said Judge Russell.
"I like to say that she is a furry security blanket," said Court Reporter and Court Dog Handler Mindie Baab.
This court room is Judge Lara Russell’s, but Jerzy has made herself right at home.
"For 30 years I have witnessed children take the witness stand and being a court reporter, I sit right next to them. I see how stressed out they are," said Baab.
Jerzy can snuggle under the witness box and has been known to put her paw in the hand of child or her head in their lap as they testify. One time, Jerzy's handler Baab said the dog licked the tears off a child's cheeks who was being interviewed by investigators.
"I broke down because she is talking about the most horrendous thing that any child should have to go through and a dog showing compassion to this little girl, changed everything," said Baab.
Jerzy is also a facility dog and has special permission from the district judges to be in divorce court, mental health court, and adoptions. Outside of the courthouse she is just as big of a deal as she is on the stand. You will see Jerzy at schools, fundraisers, birthday parties.
“I think it is important to go out in the community and meet the kids because you never know when those kids are going to end up here," said Baab.