HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response

In observance of Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13, the Daily Press will be publishing a series of editorials authored by local agencies that support local crime victims.

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ESCANABA — Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future. That is the goal of agencies assisting people affected by traumatic events. One agency striving to assist individuals in their time of need is HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response. HOPE AACR is a national all-volunteer, non-profit, crisis response organization with specially trained handlers and canines trained and tested for crisis response work. Agencies call upon HOPE AACR teams to provide comfort and support to people affected by disasters. HOPE AACR provides its services inclusive of multicultural, age, gender, racial and religious diversity. Our work is based on scientific evidence that interactions with calm, friendly well-mannered dogs in times of stress helps decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure and can promote both physical and emotional healing. HOPE AACR teams are trained to respond under stressful and unpredictable environments, and are prepared to work side by side with agencies to make other responders jobs easier during the incident. Our teams are educated to be effective and professional while working in stressful, unpredictable environments. HOPE AACR’s mission is to provide comfort and encouragement through animal-assisted support to individuals affected by crises and disasters. These individuals could be people directly affected such as a victim of a crime, home loss by a natural disaster, a close friend or family member or first responder.

Locally in the past year, HOPE AACR teams have responded to schools where there was the death of a student or staff due to fatal accidents and illnesses. We have participated in trainings in the area to continue our readiness to respond.

If you would like to learn more about HOPE AACR check out our website www.hopeaacr.org or contact Karen Alvord, HOPE AACR Michigan coordinator at karenalvord@msn.com or 906-280-1759. If you would like to request a assistance from HOPE AACR for an incident or are interested in a presentation, please reach out to Karen Alvord. HOPE AACR is looking for more team leaders (without a dog) or K9 teams. Dogs must have at least one year experience as a therapy dog in order to qualify for screening.