Kelowna RCMP using therapy dogs to fight stress - InfoNews

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Kelowna RCMP using therapy dogs to fight stress

One of the dogs that is part of the B.A.R.K. therapy program is pictured. Kelowna RCMP will be involved in a pilot program with the canines.
March 08, 2018 - 12:20 PM

KELOWNA – The Kelowna RCMP are trying out a program used to help UBC Okanagan students feel less stressed.

For the last seven years, handlers for the B.A.R.K. program have brought their dogs to the university, where they help students feel less overwhelmed, homesick or stressed, according to program director Dr. John-Tyler Binfet.

Now they will be visiting the new Kelowna RCMP detachment for a two-week trial run.

“Bringing UBC B.A.R.K. dogs, who have proven successful in combating stress on campus, to the local RCMP station helps to support employee well-being, while strengthening our partnership within our community,” Binfet says.

Supt. Brent Mundle says the detachment can be a stressful place, and employee well-being is a high priority.

B.A.R.K. director Dr. John-Tyler Binfet was at an announcement today, March 8, 2018 that Kelowna RCMP would be using therapy dogs to help stressed-out staff.
B.A.R.K. director Dr. John-Tyler Binfet was at an announcement today, March 8, 2018 that Kelowna RCMP would be using therapy dogs to help stressed-out staff.

“Front line police work can be very stressful at times, in turn, those who support the front line of policing can, as a result, be faced with similar stressors,” he says.

Kelowna RCMP media liaison Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey says he’s already taken advantage of the program.

“It’s not every day that an officer can pet, get close to or even embrace a K9 inside a police detachment, our police dogs are great partners, but their training has taken them down a different career path than therapy dogs,” he says.

Four dogs will visit the detachment each week for two-hour drop in sessions.

Mundle says other RCMP detachments, municipal police departments and emergency first responder agencies are watching closely and could adopt similar programs.


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