About HOPE


Our teams are trained and certified to provide emotional comfort and support to people affected by crises and disasters. From single person crises to national disasters, HOPE AACR is ready to help provide relief for your staff.

Stress Management and Compassion Fatigue are important considerations when deciding how to take care of first responders and staff members. Interacting with calm, well-mannered canines is known to help decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure, and allow people to de-stress in a simple, yet effective way.

When Can HOPE Provide Support?

HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is prepared to lend assistance to First Response Agencies, schools and school districts, hospitals, pastoral services and other community institutions. Our certified handlers, partnered with their crisis response canines, have been specially trained to provide comfort and support to people who have experienced a recent crisis, disaster, or difficult loss. We frequently partner with mental health professionals and counselors in response to a crisis, and our teams have served in many capacities over the years. The calming nature of our canines help to redirect people while first responders can secure the scene.

Examples of Incidents Where We Can Help:

  • Death Notifications
  • Traumatic Incidents that affect a School student body
  • Suicides, Accidental deaths, Line of Duty Deaths
  • Structure Fires & Wild Fire Base Camps
  • Multi-Casualty Incidents
  • Emergency Rooms, ICU Waiting Areas following major incidents
  • Emergency simulation drills
  • Assisting behavioral health staff
  • For pastoral services at hospitals, fire departments, law enforcement agencies, and congregations following major incidents
  • Memorial Services

HOPE Teams Are Trained For Support

HOPE regions typically schedule training workshops each year, and HOPE AACR teams are trained to meet or exceed AACR National Standards. Our volunteers and their crisis response canines are always thoroughly screened, trained, and certified to assist in times of crisis. We do require that interested people and their canines have 12 consecutive months experience volunteering in animal-assisted activities/therapy, and canines are the only animals we accept for screening and training.

There are four elements to the HOPE certification training program:

  • Informational Open House
  • Screening Evaluation
  • Certification Training Workshop
  • Continuing Education

Learn About Our Training Program

What Sets HOPE AACR Teams Apart

Adhering to the HOPE AACR standard means that those responding to crisis and disaster situations will deliver service that is safe and effective. 

EVALUATION – The HOPE AACR approach to evaluating applicants is a standard process to evaluate candidates for the aptitude to work amid emergency response situations as well as how they work as a team. 

EDUCATION – HOPE AACR teams are educated and trained to respond amid crisis and disasters. Training includes foundational stress management, including recognizing and responding to canine stress. In addition, we present information such as psychological first aid, incident command systems, and how to support disaster organizations and not burden the emergency response system. Through this training we form partnerships and during screenings the canine-handler teams and TL are paired up in the same manner as in the workshop. 

EXPERIENCE – HOPE AACR has been responding to crises, disasters, and emergency response since 1999.  These years of experience guides teams to serve others effectively and unconditionally, while meeting people where they are. HOPE is currently the only AACR organization that is an active Member of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

HOPE AACR understands the complex nature of emergency situations. Our teams only go on-site when we have been invited or deployed by a lead emergency response agency.

HOPE AACR follows a standard process of onboarding through an approach that focuses on team building, resiliency, and serving others through collaboration. The deploying teams have the knowledge and awareness to operate amid crisis and disaster scenarios while respecting the emergency response system. This experience ensures a thoughtful, intentional response and provides one point of contact to manage and infuse the onsite resources for optimal use.

Thank you donors!

Jet Blue Logo
Alaska Airlines Logo
Cielo Foundation logo

Local or National, HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is ready to help!
Call toll free for an in-person deployment:


All services are provided without charge

Join the HOPE community and sign up for:

HOPE E-News!