Victim Services Toronto provides immediate crisis response, intervention and prevention services which are responsive to the needs of individuals, families and communities affected by crime and sudden tragedies.
Victim Services Toronto has launched Toronto’s first trauma dog program to help victims in the immediate aftermath of crime or tragedy.
The Trauma Dog Program provides the comfort of a specially trained Labrador Retriever named “Dandy” to Victim Services Toronto clients. While the trauma dog is used to assist all victims where there may be benefits, the primary focus of the program is 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, has been actively assisting several clients to date. The Trauma Dog provides the unconditional comfort of touch and warmth as well as provides a healthy distraction from the agony of grief and trauma. 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).