A Marjory Stoneman Douglas student spends some time with Animal Assisted Therapy dog Grace. Grace lives with her mom Christine Geschwill in Plantation.

By: Sharon Aron Baron

The Humane Society of Broward County’s new program utilizing certified dogs has already helped victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas deal with trauma and emotional stress.

Canines for Community Resilience’s certified dogs through the Animal Assisted Therapy Program are specifically trained to participate in traumatic situations and are proficient in being able to tolerate, adapt to and cope with the physical and emotional stress of critical incidents. 

Marni Bellavia, Manager of the Animal Assisted Therapy Program said since the tragic at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the need for community outreach became even more prevalent.

“We deployed our certified therapy dog teams to MSD High School, Parkland elementary and middle schools, hospital emergency rooms, Broward County First Responders as well as throughout the community where the aid of therapy dogs was most needed.”

The dogs are specially trained to work in unpredictable, fast-paced and frequently-changing environments with various types of people and other dogs. The dog’s handler have also received advanced training in dog behavior, and have knowledge of human and animal first aid as well as psychological first aid and stress management. 

The Humane Society will be working in exclusive partnerships with Broward County First Response Agencies, hospitals, schools and pastoral services. 

To get involved in their Canines for Community Resilience Program, visit www.humanebroward.com, call 954-266-6877 or email therapy@hsbroward.com.


Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Parkland Talk. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.