TORONTO — Bobbie McMurich of Victims Services Toronto introduced Dandy, a Labrador, as the services first trauma dog back in March. Dandy was just a puppy then, at three months old, and was just starting her training. With the addition of Dandy, Toronto’s police force is only the fourth Canadian province that has such a program.
The Toronto Police Service (TPS) works collaboratively with Victims Services Toronto (VST), a service which provides support to victims of crime. The service aids 20,000 people a year, 7,000 of those are children. Dandy will be called in to assist anyone, at any age, that might benefit from the comfort and care she’s trained to provide, but she will primarily be used to help children in need.
In the United States, there are 78 dogs in 28 states that offer the same service that Dandy will. Dogs, like Dandy, are therapy dogs. Research has proven that dogs can console someone in times of great stress, lowering their blood pressure, and encouraging communication. This is especially true for victims of crime, or those who have suffered a loss as a result of criminal activity. These dogs provide an invaluable service and are known to provide comfort and support during witness statements and testimony at trial.
Come September 13, Dandy will make a more official debut as she runs alongside Superintendent Heinz Kuck in the Bang and Olufsen 5-km Yorkville Run, a high-end style run. Superintendent Huck has set a fundraising goal of $2,000, and every dollar will go to VST.
When asked about his participation in the run, Kuck said:
“For me, it will be extra special because I not only run for Dandy but with her. Dandy will be my running partner from start to finish. Spectators along the route get the opportunity to see her and to witness the start of an outstanding victims’ advocacy program.”
Should you wish to donate to Superintendent Kuck and Dandy, click here. They’re very close to their goal and undoubtedly the Services will be thrilled if they’re able to surpass it.