Texas senator working to get law passed that would allow therapy dogs in federal courtrooms

Advocates are celebrating a proposal that brings courthouse dogs into federal proceedings.

The trained animals would be used by witnesses to help them calmly recount the trauma needed for a fair trial.

Courtroom trials and forensic interviews can be quite difficult or upsetting for some victims, especially children.

But imagine the help of a four-legged friend trained to play games and provide comfort.

Yellow lab, Vanessa, is quick to show how she would perch under a desk near a, perhaps, frightened witness during a trial.

Vanessa and other labs in training are what the federal Courthouse Dogs Act is all about.

Senator John Cornyn, the bill's sponsor, was in Dallas Friday to support the group Canine Companions for Independence, which impressively trains the dogs identified to provide service. 

"While this bill does not create world peace and it may not change the face of western civilization, it does make some small advance,” Sen. Cornyn said.” I think in a meaningful way, to help improve the lives of people who find themselves in our criminal and civil justice system."

The Courthouse Dogs Act has cleared the Senate, and is now on its way to the House, with hopes to ultimately reach the president's desk.

“It really is such important work the dogs can do, not only in the courthouse, but before they even get there, in those forensic interviews as they're working with the victims and the clients who need the assistance of those dogs," Cornyn added.

The dogs can play a soothing game or assist someone with a disability.

Soon, there could be a national law to make service dogs a staple in the judicial system.

"There's a multiplicity of applications for the use of the talents of these wonderful dogs, so thank you all for being here,” Cornyn said.