Mary Ellen Roche (Judge Robert Mellon’s tipstaff) sent this text to Linda McCrillis, Roxy Therapy Dogs Board Chair;
“Thanks to all of you and your dedication, therapy dogs are now in eighty percent of County Courthouses in Pennsylvania. That’s an amazing accomplishment, and it started right here in Bucks County with Roxy Therapy Dogs!”
Linda recently spent some time at the Courthouse answering questions for visitors from Monroe County as they were planning to set up their own therapy dog program at Dependency Court.
Judge Mellon has become a tireless champion of the Roxy program and has presented it at statewide conferences of Commonwealth judges. He has also said that having the dogs there lightens everyone’s mood, even those who work at court!
Dependency Court has jurisdiction over minors who have been removed from their homes because of such things as abuse or neglect, and who must appear in court periodically for a judge to assess their situation. Understandably, the children are frightened and confused by the legal setting and often must face parents from whom the kids were removed, adding more stress to the appearance.
Having become aware that well-trained therapy dogs can be a benefit to stressed children, Judge Mellon invited Roxy Therapy Dogs to set up a pilot program for his courtroom. The pilot was great success. Today, thirty-three Roxy therapy teams visit all Dependency Court sessions.