Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dogs Help Crime Victims Heal

Petting a dog has magical calming effects.

Carolyn Corbett created K9 c.a.r.e.s. victim support program in Colorado in 2007. It stands for Canine Assisted Reduction of Eventful Stress. In the program specially trained dogs work side-by-side with victim advocate volunteers to aid people who have experienced traumatic events or crimes.

Carolyn and her Golden Retriever Caitee are on call 24-7 with the Westminster Police Department to help victims immediately after a traumatic life-altering experience. The team also supports children under 18 before, during, and after court proceedings for a wide range of crimes. Caitee's job is similar to that of a comforting friend. She patiently hangs out with the person allowing them to pet, brush, or hug her.

Caitee is trained to bring a tissue to the person at the first sign of tears. Carolyn says that usually the person cries harder at first and then the crying changes to laughter. This begins the positive change in brain chemistry which is the beginning of the healing process.

Visit the website to learn more about the nonprofit organization and its plans to expand the program to other states.

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