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 all HOPE AACR teams are trained to meet with 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 Makes HOPE Teams Different

HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response has been working in emergency response since 2001, and we are currently the only AACR organization that is an active Member of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. HOPE teams only go on-site when we have been deployed by a lead emergency response agency.

HOPE teams go through training and continuing education in skills such as psychological first aid and incident command, to support organizations in the field. HOPE AACR also strives to deploy Team Leaders whenever possible, to assist teams in their efforts, and watch over them for signs of stress.

Other therapy dog teams have such a desire to help that they can become a burden while they’re on-site, but HOPE AACR teams take exceptional care to understand the environment you are working with after a catastrophic event. HOPE AACR gives you a single point of contact to be able to manage all of our onsite resources, and our teams have a unique understanding of how to be a resource to you, not a burden.

More on What Makes HOPE Different

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Local or National, HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is ready to help!
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