Victim Services Toronto is currently launching Toronto’s first trauma dog program to help victims in the immediate aftermath of crime or tragedy. While the trauma dog will be used to assist all victims where there may be benefit, the primary focus of the program will be on child victims. Of the 20,000 people Victim Services Toronto works with each year, more than 7,000 are children. “Dandy” a yellow lab born October 3, 2014, is Victim Services Toronto’s trauma dog In-Training. Dandy is participating in a number of concurrent training programs including standard puppy training and specialized certification service dog training from Thames Centre Service Dogs. Several of Victim Services Toronto’s employees are also training to be “handlers” of Dandy, the trauma dog. The program is currently operating 100% with donations and fundraising contributions.
Canada’s first trauma dog program was launched in British Columbia in 2010 by Delta Victim Services. Delta “Victim Services K9 handlers report: the K9 calms clients down who are excessively agitated, clients begin to talk more easily when the K9 is present, the cathartic benefit to petting an animal is obvious and overt in many situations, and clients approach Victim Services in a more positive and receptive manner.” (Website: Dept. Justice Canada, Victims of Crime Research Digest, Issue No.7).REGISTER FOR RACE AND FUNDRAISE FOR US