Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation

Start Date: 2019/12/16

Description: There was a parent of the church community who self confessed to molestation of two children (age 3 and 6). We were asked to go help the church members and leaders while the Trauma Team sent from the Head Offices of the Unitarian Universalist Church was there for the first set of services 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM. There was also an Adult Meeting held between the two services as some church members had also lived through abuse either themselves or their children. One of the Trauma Team, Abigail Hodge, knew WA State Director, Raquel Lackey, and so asked if HOPE Teams could be invited to the church. Another of the Trauma Team Counsellors had never seen dogs interacting after a trauma had happened and was very impressed with how the dogs knew exactly who needed comforting. We were at the church in the lobby when people started arriving for the 9:00 AM service. When the service started at 9:00 AM we were in the back of the church so if anyone wanted to come pet the dogs we were available. The Pastor introduced us at the beginning of the service. 15 minutes into the service the children left to go to their rooms with Youth Leaders and we had 2 of our dogs in the pre-k - 1st Grade Room and our 3rd team with Team Lead in the Grade 2-4 Room. We were with the children (some of them knew the victim children) for 45 min. At 10:00 we went into the Adult Meeting Room and were available during the course of a very difficult conversation with trauma counsellors and adults. At one point a team was asked to go into the room where all of the children were taken to be taken care of while the adults had their meeting. It was so chaotic that the Team ended up going into the hallway to allow two children a chance to visit with the dog for a time. Then the Team came back into the Adult Meeting. Shortly before 11:00 we were in the lobby greeting people and then back in the church. One team went up with the Youth Group (high schoolers) and at 11:20 the two remaining teams went into the Middle School room (where 3 of the children knew the victims and had been in the home for babysitting and other activities with the family). Team from Youth Group left at 11:30 AM. Teams from the Middle Schoolers left at 12:00. By then, our dogs were done. Two of the teams were very new to HOPE, Darlene/Ryder and Maggie Tai/Adele. They and their dogs did an outstanding job. Darlene/Kozi are seasoned pros and really made a new bond with one of the middle schoolers and then spent a lot of time with that teen. I was very proud of all the teams and how they handled themselves and their dogs.

Agency: Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Teams: Darlene Miller/Ryder, Maggie Tai Tucker/Adele, Darlene Kellerman/Kozi