An exciting 360 Communities initiative involves a creative way to provide survivors of abuse additional support. We work with an organization called Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs (PawPADs) that trains service dogs to respond to traumatic events, like mass shootings or disasters. 360 Communities has hired two victim support dogs, Ranger, pictured with Outreach Advocate Stacie Burke, works in the Apple Valley Police Department and Coco works in the Lakeville Police Department.
360 Communities is the first domestic and sexual violence program in Minnesota to have victim support dogs to help survivors cope with stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that the simple act of petting an animal lowers blood pressure and encourages well-being. Ranger has experience providing comfort in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
In their roles, our victim support dogs:
- Provide comfort and emotional support for victims experiencing trauma.
- Be trained to sit on or near the feet of the victim/survivor in court.
- Be available to be pet by the victim to ease anxiousness in various settings, including law enforcement interviews, preparation for court testimony, and one-on-one meetings with advocates.
We need the community’s help to fund this. If you would like to contribute to this initiative, click the button below.