A Furry Friend to Help Kids in Court

STROUDSBURG, Pa. -- There is a new employee at the Monroe County Courthouse, and his job is to comfort children who are involved in the court system.

The Monroe County Courthouse now has a facility dog named Nicholas, or Nicky for short. He is a 2-year-old lab mix.

He's only been there for a few weeks, but his handler says he is already making a big difference.  He's very friendly and loves to say hello to anyone walking by.

"He mainly works with kids, kids who come into the courthouse for various proceedings. Usually most of the time, they are pretty stressed out, and Nick just steps in to help de-stress them and bring the anxiety levels down," said senior law clerk Jessica Jones.

Jones is a senior law clerk and also Nicky's handler. She's been training with him since he was just a puppy. He's only been on the job for a few weeks but already he's making a difference.

"We have a program that we have initiated called Canines in the Courts Initiative, and he is part of the program. He's the first dog that we've had here, and he's doing great so far."

Like any employee at the courthouse, Nicky is here five days a week, but if for any reason he makes you feel uncomfortable or if you might be allergic to him, just let his handler know.

Monroe County President Judge Margherita Patti Worthington says she has been trying to get a facility dog for a long time.

"He's already worth his weight in gold. He has been here to help the children who come here to the court who may have anxiety. They are going into a proceeding for some reason, they pet him. He gets taken to the various proceedings, custody, things of that nature, and I think he really helps the kids," said the judge.

Nicky came at no cost to taxpayers.

The Monroe County Bar Association has even agreed to help pay for his food, vet appointments, and general maintenance.

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