Trained trauma dog reports for duty in Brantford
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Friday, October 14, 2016 5:45PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 14, 2016 6:41PM EDT
People recovering from traumatic experiences in the Brantford area now have a new tool to help them cope.
A trauma dog named Eddie was officially developed to Victim Services of Brant on Friday.
He’ll work with first responders recovering from on-the-job trauma, but also be available for organizations like Victim Services to use with any member of the public in the same situation.
“Anything that our office might get called out to respond to, Eddie can be there to help and support,” said Penny McVicar, the executive director of Victim Services of Brant.
“He’s there just for somebody to pet, to hug, to sit down on the floor and cuddle with. He just gives love – love and affection.”
The dog is named after Eddie Adamson, a Toronto Police staff sergeant who died from suicide in 2005 while in the midst of a 25-year battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sgt. Dean Skelding of the Brant County OPP knew Adamson, and thinks his colleague would be “honoured” to have his name live on in a trauma dog.
In fact, Skelding was front and centre for a heartwarming moment at Friday’s handover ceremony.
While he was explaining why he considered Eddie to be a fitting tribute to Adamson, the dog suddenly started barking – startling everyone in attendance, especially those who’ve spent the most time with him.
“Eddie has never barked before,” said McVicar.
“In that time that we’ve had him, I’ve never heard him bark.”
Skelding also sees ways Eddie could benefit police officers, some of who find themselves traumatized by things they encounter while working – and who aren’t as likely to hide that trauma as they may have been in the past.
“Now we’re telling our recruits ‘Hey, this is likely going to happen to you. If it does happen to you, we need to get you some help and get you through it,’” he said.
Eddie was trained by United By Trauma, a volunteer organization which connects service dogs with police officers and military personnel dealing with PTSD.
With reporting by Mary Cranston