Flagstaff Therapy Dog Teams

Start Date: 05/20/2019


I met Sybil when we were on a conference call for a Yavapai County COAD meeting. She was on the call for the Coconino County VOAD, where she is the chair. She contacted me afterwards to learn more about HOPE, the organization and our disaster recovery work. Most of our fire deployments are in northern AZ, in Yavapai and Coconino counties. Sybil is also a therapy dog handler in the Flagstaff area, and knows and works with a number of therapy teams in that area. She and another team in the area have become very interested in applying for HOPE and have indicated they are doing the application paperwork. As a result of discussions with some of the other therapy teams about HOPE, she said there was quite a bit of interest in the organization and asked if we might come up to Flagstaff and do a presentation. A date was decided on at least a month out based on everyone’s schedules. She said 3 teams would be good. We gladly accepted because we need teams in that fire prone area. Two of our senior team members would be up there anyway (second homes) so I would drive up and join them, doing a team presentation. I confirmed with Sybil about a week and a half prior and she said she expected 15-20 people. I drove up for the presentation after responding to a school callout that morning, hitting a pretty bad late May snowstorm on the way up. Diane, Beth and I met at the United Way building where Sybil works and got set up for the presentation. There ended up being only 6 people attending: Sybil and a United Way co-Worker, an intern and an associate with the probation office who I had invited from a separate conversation, an Emergency Manager with the Flagstaff EOC, and one other therapy team. It was good presentation practice and good to meet the Emergency Manager and the other therapy team member, but it was pretty disappointing for us to prepare for and travel to a presentation that had minimal target demographic attendees. Sybil was surprised and apologetic there were so many “no shows”. It was lightly snowing then so that might have had an impact. It was still early enough to drive back most of the way with light despite the light snow, so we decided to head home.

Agency: Flagstaff Therapy Dog Teams

Beth Ells and Cinder, Diane Spence and Chloe