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when someone is hurting

there are things we can do

when someone is hurting

there are things we can do

When someone is hurting, there are things we can do

The element common to all crisis is the breaking of bonds. In crisis, we are forcefully separated from the people and places that mean the most to us. We are hurt, we are alone and we are not safe. The things, feelings, emotions we have that connect us to one another are thrown into turmoil, disarray and distortion.

 

Survival   Without realizing it, our survival instincts of fight-flight-freeze are instantly transforming our behaviors and physiology to insulate us and protect us from harm. In the short term, these changes help us to survive in the minutes and hours immediately following the crisis. But these very things we depend on for survival -isolation, hyper vigilance and focus, increased adrenaline and heart rate - can have debilitating effects if they persist for too long.

 

Protected   NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines provides canine teams that are trained to gently, safely break through the barriers of isolation caused by crisis, allowing individuals to re-connect to their families, friends, school mates, church fellowship and other cherished social supports.

In the presence of the canine, the individual experiencing crisis instinctively begins to feel safer and protected, quieting the need for fight-flight-freeze.

 

No charge  There is never a charge for our services. NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines works alongside the responders, community organizations, law enforcement, schools, NGO's and counselors already providing critical services and humanitarian aid in our communities.

These organizations may request NATIONAL canine teams to assist a child or family overwhelmed by personal crisis; a neighborhood coming together after a disaster; or, a community touched by a tragedy at school.

For responders or agency staff providing services following crisis, NATIONAL canine teams may be requested to provide respite, stress management, or support during critical incident debriefings.

 

Trust  We respect the trust placed in us to serve those who are most vulnerable.

Each NATIONAL Crisis Response Canine team is certified, credentialed and insured. Every NATIONAL volunteer, regardless of their role or title, has a verified criminal history background clearance. Each NATIONAL volunteer completes a two hour instructor-led training on confidentiality and ethics, and signs a Confidentiality and Code of Ethics Agreement signifying their commitment to protecting those we serve, and those we serve alongside.

 

Evidence-based  The methods we use are evidence-based and developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN www.nctsn.org) and SAMHSA (U.S Department of Health and Human Services - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration www.samhsa.gov).

About Us

At its core, NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines is a volunteer organization. Everything we do is accomplished by the generous spirit of our volunteers and our commitment to the common good.

As responders, we volunteer to serve because we hope to make a difference, relieve suffering, aid in recovery, and help people affected by crisis, trauma or disaster.

There is never a charge for our services. We do so on our own time and at our own cost by providing our own canine, gear, travel expenses, food, veterinary cost and lodging.

NATIONAL instructors, mental health professionals, chaplains and mentors are also volunteers and do so on their own time and at their own costs.

As instructors and mentors, we are passionate about helping our volunteers learn how to help families and individuals in times of crisis, and how to prepare to be responders in their own communities.

As volunteers, we are as diverse as the people who make up America’s communities. And yet very specifically, we are individuals who have a heart of service to our community, and canines who are affiliative to strangers in crisis.

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to harness the power of the human + canine bond

to inspire resilience and recovery in people affected

by crisis, trauma or disaster,

and the responders who help them.

The human + canine bond    The relationship of humans and canines is as old as the earliest humans. Wherever the slightest evidence of ancient humans appears, close by is evidence of a domestic relationship shared with canines.

We shared our campfires, caves and food with the canines. In other words, the very things that were essential to our own survival, we shared freely with the canine.

Humans share this unique bond with only one non-human specie, the canine.

 

The power of the human + canine bond    From the beginning, the bargain struck between humans and canines was a simple one - security in exchange for food. During the day, humans provided food, warmth and shelter for the canines, ensuring the strengthening of the canine specie. At night, canines served as a sentry to warn humans of predators and when needed, to defend against them.

The presence of the canine, from the beginning until now, has continuously represented safety to the human. The power of the human + canine bond is the safe haven implicit in the presence of the canine.

 

Inspire resilience and recovery  In disasters, the number of individuals affected psychologically is many times greater than the number of people sustaining physical injury, damage to their homes or the loss of possessions.

Research shows that responding to the critical psychological needs of individuals in crisis as quickly as possible reduces long term dysfunctions such as unemployment, substance abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness in both the individual and the community.

The presence of the crisis response canine team reminds the individual of their own strengths, resources and resilience, and inspires the individual to take the next steps towards recovery even when it seems out of reach.

 

People affected by crisis  To best understand the ‘i’ in crisis, we acknowledge every crisis is different from every other crisis.

How an individual responds to a critical incident is a complex mix of many factors and life experiences. And so, it is always the individual who determines if an incident is a crisis -or not.

As responders, we encounter individuals who are quite functional and self-effective in the aftermath of a disaster. We also encounter individuals whose behaviors suggest they may be overwhelmed and have a need for additional resources.

Typically, the sense of being overwhelmed and helpless is short-lived. Most individuals are capable of working through the recovery process without developing long-term dependency.

 

The responders who help  Exposure to traumatic events or to individuals talking about traumatic events has an impact on the responder.

While responders typically have a higher resistance to the effects of trauma and crisis, responders may experience compassion fatigue as a result of prolonged exposure to compassion stress and where the emotional output is high. (Charles Figley, Green Cross)

The presence of the crisis response canine team provides respite for the responder. The canine serves to remind them that there is a safe haven for them, and an appreciation for the difficult work they choose to do so that others may be safe.

 

OUR IMPACT

'When something bad happens,

you can let it define you, let it destroy you

or you can let it strengthen you.'

The people we serve   Crisis and tragedy are experienced in isolation, fear and hopelessness.

How the crisis response canine team transforms that experience to one of shared support, strength, growth and recovery is as individual as the person we serve.

  • For the the homeless teen, the canine team is there to connect him with caring people at a cold weather shelter.

 

  • For the elderly woman beaten and shamed by her abuser, the canine team is there to offer support without judgement as a domestic violence counselor helps her form a safe escape plan.

 

  • For the child abducted and abused by a non-custodial parent, the canine team is there to assist federal agents as he’s returned safely to the United States.

 

  • For the family standing in the cold night watching as their house burns, the canine team provides for their emotional safety as the American Red Cross team warms them with blankets and provides information and vouchers for temporary housing.

 

  • For the overwhelmed veteran unable to manage her bills and facing eviction, the canine team offers a safe haven while the American Red Cross' Services to The Armed Forces team coordinates housing and other services for her.

 

  • For the high school student protected from a hail of bullets by his teacher, the crisis response canine offers the wordless protection needed when there are no words to describe the terror and horror.

 

  • For the firefighters struggling with the suicide of one of their own, the crisis response canine is there to offer the quiet, calm support that strengthens their bonds to one another.

 

NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines is committed to helping when someone is hurting, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, gender, gender status, political or legal status, nationality, or any other aspect that makes us unique yet universally human.

 

Community coalitions  Networks of community partners in each of our own hometowns provide essential social support for those who are hurting.

When a community partner requests NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines, we provide a safe haven for someone who is intensely vulnerable, with the same level of care, compassion, confidentiality and competency as they do.

We also respond to requests from our community partners to support their prevention, outreach and resilience efforts, as well as their disaster preparedness exercises. These continuous, collaborative efforts provide valuable insights into the resources and needs of our communities so when crisis strikes, we’re prepared to work together to deliver a coordinated, safe and effective response.

 

Our volunteers  At its core, NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines is an all volunteer organization. Everything we do is accomplished by the generous spirit of our volunteers and our commitment to the common good.

As volunteers, we are as diverse as the people who make up America’s communities. And yet very specifically, we are individuals who have a heart of service to our community,

As responders, we volunteer to serve because we hope to make a difference, relieve suffering, aid in recovery, and help people affected by crisis, trauma or disaster.

There is never a charge for our services.

By being completely self-provisioned, we don’t further strain the critical resources of other agencies delivering humanitarian relief to the survivors.

We prepare, train and respond on our own time and at our own cost by providing our own canine, gear, travel expenses, food, veterinary cost and lodging.

 

Our mentors   NATIONAL instructors, mental health professionals, chaplains and mentors are also volunteers and do so on their own time and at their own costs.

As instructors and mentors, we are passionate about helping our volunteers learn how to help families and individuals in times of crisis, and how to prepare to be responders in their own communities.

OUR PARTNERS

Community partners  For the homeless fourteen year old planning suicide, for the parents waiting to hear if their son with Autism has been found alive by the search teams, or for the family seeking the safety of a domestic violence shelter, there are networks of community partners in each of our own hometowns that offer the support, care and practical resources they need.

When a community partner requests NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines, we understand they’re entrusting us to provide a safe haven for someone who is intensely vulnerable, with the same level of care, compassion, confidentiality and competency as they would.

We value the opportunities to strengthen our relationships with the organizations and people that provide essential social support for those who are hurting.

We welcome their requests to support their prevention, outreach and resilience efforts, as well as their response to crisis.

 

Responder partners   911 dispatch, law enforcement, fire, rescue, medical, search & rescue, chaplaincy, victims’ advocates and emergency management are examples of the responders we partner with to support survivors and their families in the immediate aftermath of crisis or disaster.

When critical incidents impact the responders themselves, NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines provides the confidential strategic support that responders trust so they can continue to protect and serve their communities.

 

NGO partners   Humanitarian disaster relief comes from many non-governmental organizations (NGO) in our communities.

We partner with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Jewish Community Services, United Way as well as local churches, fellowship halls, civic clubs, health departments and the Medical Reserve Corps.

These NGO partners provide the humanitarian aid, medical care and emergency shelters before, during and after the storm.

We provide compassionate support for the shelter residents, and respite for the dedicated volunteers of our partners.

 

Federal resources   When crisis and disaster cross state lines, or tragedy strikes public transportation, air travel or cruise lines, NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines deploys on authorization from federal agencies such as FEMA, Homeland Security, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSC), Small Business Administration (SBA), the FBI and others.

 

Organization support & logistics partners  Delivering on our mission would not be possible without the extraordinary support of our technology and logistics partners.

Leveraging technology is just one of the ways we effectively manage staffing levels so more of our resources go directly to mission and the people we serve. Just a few examples - Salesforce.org provides the cloud-based technology we need to manage all aspects of our deployments, training and communications in a secure encrypted environment. TechSoup.org connects us with technology partners and technology training. Sterling Verified Volunteers gives us a simple, fast, cost-effective way to verify criminal history background clearances.

OUR GOVERNANCE

Our vision   At NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines, we see crisis and tragedy transform from something which is experienced in isolation, fear and hopelessness to that of shared support, strength, growth and recovery whenever our crisis response canine teams are deployed to support people in crisis.

There are some 30,000 towns, villages and cities in the United States. NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines' vision is to train, certify, insure and deploy crisis response canine teams in each of them to inspire recovery and resilience in the aftermath of crisis.

We will take the lessons learned from two decades of responding to mass scale disasters and apply them to the crises and traumas in our own neighborhoods and hometowns each and every day.

 

Public good   NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines is a nonprofit organization for the public good with our Articles of Incorporation filed in July 2003 in the State of Oregon, and recognized in March 2006 by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Our Bylaws were reviewed and revised in May 2017 to allow the Board of Directors to focus more on matters of governance, fiduciary responsibilities and vision.

Our organization is guided by a Board of Directors comprised of individuals with a deep understanding and commitment to our mission.

Our seven Directors bring their knowledge, experience and professional expertise from diverse disciplines of education, health and mental health, chaplaincy, canine behavior, government, legal, technology, and failure analysis. They have held positions of leadership in large organizations such as government, school districts and health care systems; medium and large private enterprise; and small nonprofit organizations.

As each Director serves a 3 year term, the Board continuously identifies and recruits new directors in order to seat one-third of the Board each year. This provides for new ideas, new relationships, new leadership and growth, alongside a healthy appreciation for our history.

 

Ethical treatment of our canine partners   The crisis response canine is social, sensitive and intuitive around people.

We know however these wonderful qualities are a double-edged sword that can also expose the canine to significant harm. For this reason it's critically important the crisis response canine also possess many of the same traits found in the human responder.

Traits such as resilience, energy, stamina, a willingness to learn that combine with environmental and social confidence. Most importantly, we first determine that we are certifying and deploying only the canine who is choosing to work in the difficult, dangerous physical conditions and intense emotional environments of crisis, trauma and disaster.

This guarantees the ethical treatment of our canine partners, and to do otherwise, would be unethical.

 

Inclusive   NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines is an all-volunteer organization with volunteers as diverse as the people who make up America’s communities. Each volunteer pledges to respect the human dignity of all people and provide crisis response to individuals regardless of their religion, ethnicity, gender, gender status, political or legal status, nationality, or any other aspect that makes us unique yet universally human.

 

Code of conduct   As responders, we meet individuals under crisis conditions when they are intensely vulnerable -before, during and after crisis, trauma or disaster.

Each of us serving our mission, regardless of our role or title, signs a Confidentiality and Code of Ethics Agreement, signifying our commitment to building and keeping trust with those we serve, and with those we serve with.

We promise to work diligently to earn the trust of each individual and by our actions, to always be worthy of the trust placed in us.

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