Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dog Therapy for Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System

© by Carrie Boyko

Caitee Provides Victim Support


Carrie: Welcome to All Things Dog Blog, Carolyn. I was excited to learn of yet another way that canine therapy dogs can help humans. Please tell my readers about your program.
Carolyn: I have been a volunteer Victim Advocate since 1999, and was a first responder at Columbine High School. This is where the idea of having an experienced, trained therapy dog at my side was born.
After my proposals, the program was developed by the Westminster Police Department and finally piloted with me and my registered therapy dog, Caitee. We provide animal assisted crisis intervention with unconditional support and comfort.
Now we give this same support in the courts as well, and are a 501.c.3 non-profit. K9 Cares is developing affiliated programs in other agencies across Colorado.
Carrie: My Golden/Lab mix, Xena, helped me through a period of migraine headaches. She sensed, intuitively, that I needed her supportive companionship. Is this something that is unique to Golden Retrievers, or did I just luck up?
Carolyn: Carrie, I believe the answer is a little of both. Most all companion dogs know their people better than we know ourselves. I believe Caitee has been given a gift of compassion that surpasses most.
Carrie: I see that you have 2 other Golden Retrievers. Are they in training to become Caitee’s comrades or replacements?

Liberty, Caitee, and Tallulah
A Therapy Dog Threesome

Carolyn: Tallulah is seven years old. She is truly the happiest Golden Retriever that I have ever known, yet is rather excitable and gets overwhelmed easily.
Tallulah has found her job at the local library with the R.E.A.D. program. Tallulah lies quietly while a young student reads to her; she places a paw on the pages and thumps her tail on the floor in enthusiastic support.
Eleven month old Liberty was hand picked to become a Law Enforcement Therapy dog. She is being groomed to become Caitee’s understudy…and I hate to even say it, but someday she will take over for Caitee. I love the fact that Liberty will carry on Caitee’s legacy.
Carrie: Your involvement in the R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) program to assist children with reading is something my readers may like to hear more about. How does this work?
A Program of
Intermountain Therapy Animals
® R.E.A.D. and courtesy K9 Cares

Carolyn: K9 Cares Victim Support is an official affiliated program of the R.E.A.D. program. The mission of the R.E.A.D. program is to improve the literacy and communication skills of childrens through the assistance of therapy teams as reading companions for children.
The R.E.A.D. dog does not criticize or correct the child; they listen quietly and encourage the student with their unconditional acceptance.
Carrie: Can you pick one inspiring, stand-out story to share with us?


Caitee has been Nominated for the
AKC's Award for Canine Excellence

Carolyn: In Caitee’s 1000 hours of service, one story comes to mind:


“In court on sentencing day, a mom had just faced the man who had abused her teenage daughter. The victim did not want to be in the courtroom; she waited just outside benefiting from Caitee’s attentive comfort and support. Upon exiting the courtroom when the hearing was over, Mom ran straight for Caitee and hugged her so tight we thought she would never let go. Mom cried on Caitee for a long period. Caitee would not judge, pull away or ask questions; and that is exactly what mom needed. It was truly an inspiring experience.”
Carrie: If my All Things Dog Blog readers wish to learn more, contact you, or make a donation, how may they best reach you for these purposes?
Carolyn: K9 Cares Victim Support may be reached at P.O. Box 351525 Westminster, CO 80234 or at www.k9Cares.org, where there is a donation page that accepts credit cards and PayPal donations. We are also on Facebook at K9 Cares Victim Support.











and courtesy K9 Cares

Carolyn and Caitee

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