Who do you turn to in times of grief? For people who have been through traumatic events such as natural disasters and shooting incidents, sometimes it’s easier to connect emotionally with animals than human beings. That’s where HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response comes in. The organization sends teams of canines and their handlers into disaster areas (think environments like after Hurricanes Katrina and Ike hit) to support people and help them cope.
HOPE uses volunteers who are specially trained to deal with these high stress situations. According to the website, they’ve been called to schools and military bases and appeared during the 9/11 Ten Year Memorial in 2011, the Arizona wildfires in 2013 and supported the relief efforts after tornadoes struck Indiana in 2012. The site also says that these teams respond free of charge.
HOPE recently teamed with the Public Safety Institute at Houston Community College Northeast to hold training, testing and workshops for potential new HOPE volunteers.
Learn more about what they do in the story I produced about the training, below.