The Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) is excited to announce the addition of a new dog to our Facility Dog Program. Athena is a 23-month-old female Golden Labrador Retriever has been provided to the MHPS in collaboration with Dogs With Wings.
The MHPS Facility Dog Program began in May 2016 when the first dog Mulder arrived. Since that time Mulder has assisted many victims by offering short-term animal support to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and other emotions that can result from high-stress situations. Facility dogs are proven to provide great comfort, particularly to children, due to their training and certification through Dogs with Wings and Assistance Dogs International which allows them to function unobtrusively in public places, to ignore distractions, and to be attuned to people’s emotions.
Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society (DWW) was founded in 1996 and provides Assistance Dogs in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Dogs with Wings is accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI), providing the highest training certification for Facility Dogs across the world. Dogs with Wings’ vision is to transform lives and advance the Service Dog sector. Their dream is wellness and support for all. Their mission is to foster integration and independence for individuals and social service agencies by providing them with highly trained Assistance Dogs. DWW specializes in the training and placement of Service Dogs, Autism Service Dogs, Facility Dogs, and Companion Dogs. For more information, visit: www.dogswithwings.ca.
“Dogs with Wings is proud to place Athena with the MHPS, knowing Athena will be of service to children, families, individuals, the legal system, and their community at large”, says CEO Miranda Jordan-Smith. “We commend the MHPS for adding a second Facility Dog to their force to work alongside Mulder, recognizing the value and vital support Athena will bring.”
The MHPS is thankful for the support and collaboration of Dogs With Wings, without which this valuable service to the community would not be possible. In particular, the MHPS would like to acknowledge and thank the individuals who have contributed to raising and training these amazing dogs. DWW Facility Dogs undergo extensive training before their work begins. DWW relies heavily on the goodwill and dedication of volunteers and donors in their community to train and place their Assistance Dogs. Each dog costs DWW $40,000 to breed, raise, train, and place with a client, and clients like MHPS only pay $1 for their Facility Dog.
Now in Medicine Hat, Athena will continue with her training over the spring and summer months and is excited to get to work. Mulder who is now eight years old, will continue to provide the support he has for several more years, alongside Athena, as this program continues to grow.
Ms. Carrie Stober
Athena-Facility Dog Handler
Medicine Hat Police Service