Courage through Canines is Victims For Justice's newest program, launched in June 2016.
Our Executive Director Robyn has a passion for dogs; training them, loving them, and seeing the joys they can bring to others. In 2015 she was teaching classes and connected with Melissa Kitko. Melissa was training to become a certified NATIONAL Crisis Response Canine Team and to establish a chapter in Alaska. Soon they got together to figure out how to bring dogs into victims' lives. Melissa researched and explored and updated Robyn regularly until they finally decided how they were going to make it work. A contest was held, and the name Courage through Canines was selected.
The concept is that dogs can help calm people down in stressful situations, help them to feel more normal. Dogs are non-judgemental and want to comfort those in need.
Our teams are certified and insured through NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines, and receive additional training in victim advocacy and the criminal justice system. They can then be deployed to clients and organizations throughout the city of Anchorage. They can accompany someone to police interviews, pre-trial prep with the District Attorney's and Municipal Prosecutors as well as simply for comfort when they come to the office. Our teams are also making rounds to victim advocates and others that work with victims on a regular basis to help ensure that secondary trauma is kept to a minimum. They are also present at all of our events and can be called in by other organizations through our referral and request forms.
For more information or to request a team, please contact Melissa Kitko firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Conoco Phillips for their generous support of this program!