Child Death - Family Services of Ventura County - Simi Valley

Start Date: 08/01/2019


Carmen Franco, Senior Administrative Specialist Children and Family Services of Ventura County, contacted HOPE AACR asking for teams to visit 3 locations that have been dealing with the aftermath of a child death. I deployed to the Simi Valley location with my dog Maverick. We arrived early at 1:30pm and were taken into a large private lobby with an empty circle of chairs. Upon our arrival, our presence was announced on a loud speaker and employees came out to take seats and unwind with us. Maverick greeted each person as they came through the door and proceeded to wag his way around the circle, spending a bit of quality time with each person (sitting against their legs for hugs or offering himself up for belly rubs) while still staying aware of the others and moving around to greet everyone every few minutes. They clearly enjoyed our presence and had fun taking photos of him and sharing his trading card. After a while we were brought back into the main office area and walked around the cubicles to greet individuals who had not come out to the lobby. Several people sat down on the floor, right there among the cubicles, to enjoy doggy hugs, butterfly kisses, and belly rubs. We finished our visit with a group of interns who were brought to us during a break in their training. After their trainer took a group photo, the interns all gathered on the floor around Maverick and shared stories about their pet dogs while the trainer shared how a previous HOPE visit with Jodi and Daltrey helped them after the fires last year. They seem very grateful to have HOPE AACR as a resource.

Agency: Family Services of Ventura County