The victim services unit at the Trail RCMP detachment now has a support dog.
Ireland is a black lab/golden retriever cross and was purpose-bred and specially chosen for her new working role. Ireland was raised and trained by the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guide.
Support dogs help Canadian professional agencies working with vulnerable people who have been impacted by trauma or tragedy or have been victims of crime.
Ireland is specifically trained to provide compassionate support, attuned presence, and a calming influence to those experiencing extreme emotional responses to certain events.
“The impacts seen by professionals when deploying the dog are nothing short of amazing,” RCMP said in a news release.
They add dogs provide cathartic and healing touch where human responders cannot, may help reduce negative stress responses and increase positive neurochemical production in the body, may reduce blood pressure and heart rate, and help people to function better cognitively which would help victims effectively communicate and improve memory.
Victim services will use Ireland in crisis intervention (including on scene support and debriefings), client meetings, agency visits, forensic interviews, police statements, court accompaniment, and hospital examinations.
Ireland and her handler will receive ongoing training and yearly assessments to ensure her clients are getting the best possible trauma-informed, client-centred care, police said.
Along with providing direct support to clients, Ireland will be engaging in community events and public education. She is identified by her red vest.
“Ireland is such an exciting addition to our team at victim services and we can’t wait to see all the positive impacts she will make,” RCMP said.
Ireland is joining the RCMP thanks to support from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and Sgt. Mike Wicentowich.