National Dog Week: Tresi, Courthouse Companion Dog, Makes A Difference

Attending court proceedings can be stressful, especially for witnesses and victims.

That’s where Tresi, Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office Courthouse Companion Dog, does her work.

Tresi, a five-year-old Labrador Retriever, has been an employee of the DA’s office since February 2018. She has provided support for countless children and adults and attended meetings, preliminary hearings, guilty pleas, sentencings and more.

Karin Young, a victim advocate in the DA’s office, is the primary handler for Tresi. Young, Pamela Grosh, Director of Victim/Witness Services, and three other DA employees went through training before potential dogs went through auditions to find a fit.

The dog needed to be social with everyone, not attached to one sole handler like other emotional support dogs. The dog would also have to be comfortable traveling frequently, maneuvering in and out of courtrooms, and taking the elevator. Tresi ended up being a perfect match; she was trained by Canine Partners for Life.

“She provides a calming effect on anyone distressed, helps with bad outcomes, lightens the mood and will go to the person who needs her support the most,” said Grosh. “She’s great with children and helps with diversion for people who are anxious or waiting for the court proceeding.”

The 2020 statistics on Tresi don’t tell the full story due to COVID-19 closing the courthouse frequently. In 2019, Tresi interacted with 250 people and attended over 25 court hearings.

Special thanks to Manheim Pike Veterinary Practice, who provides free veterinary care to Tresi.