Therapy dogs have been used for years in hospitals and nursing homes to comfort and reduce stress among those who are ill and distressed. In recent years, response groups have added crisis dog teams for local and national disaster relief and in response to human made crises. Our dogs provide an emotional bridge. They don’t know about the disaster or other things that create pain but they do know how to interact with people and help the healing process begin. Our dogs are initially certified in their home communities with a therapy dog organization. They are then trained to respond positively to human grief, strong emotions and challenging environments such as emergency shelters, health facilities and large crowds. Our handlers are trained to assist individuals through psychological first aid and critical incident stress management.
MEET THE TEAM
Bella (or Bella Sue), a Labrador/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix was rescued through the Grand Island Human Society for the NOAH’s Service Dog Program. After a year of work in service, her person’s health failed and Bella was adopted by her new handler, Darcy, to work as a therapy dog. She and Darcy also do demonstrations for schools and organizations interested in the work of service dogs and in NOAH’s overall. When she is not working, Bella likes to play with her BFF, Gordy, keep track of bunnies on her acreage, distribute toys and bones around her home, and bring love and happiness to her family and anyone she meets.
Nestle, a Labrador, was trained as a professional therapy dog by C.A.R.E.S., Inc. in Concordia, KS. While working at Cloud County Community College, she gave birth to 8 puppies who all became service dogs. Nestle moved with her handler, Holly, to North Platte, NE is 2013 and now works at Mid-Plains Community College. She and Holly have extensive work in schools and, recently, in tornado response. In her spare time, Nestle enjoys hanging out with her cat and dog friends, chasing her tennis ball, napping, and most of all, sniffing.
Homer, a Bluetick Coonhound, was a stay found on the highway near Omaha after apparently being on his own personal odessey. Renea rehabbed and adopted him for therapy and crisis response work. Homer lives in Louisville, NE. When he’s not providing comfort and mental health support, Homer loves food, search and rescue training/work, food, his cats, food, and sleeping on his couch.
Molly, a Labrador, was rescued through the Saunders County Lost Pets Shelter in Wahoo, NE and lives in Omaha, NE. She is laid back and very mellow. Molly is also deaf and she was trained for therapy work using hand signals. She and her person, Debbie, love providing emotional support and engaging in pet visitations. Molly likes going for late night walks, digging, chewing, and getting all the affection that she can muster.
Scout, a Plott Hound, was rescued through All-Aboard Pet Rescue in Fort Collins, CO. Scout is a very active dog who needs to work in therapy, crisis, and search and rescue to keep her body and mind busy. In addition to crisis and therapy dog work, she and her partners train twice a week in Search and Rescue. Scout loves to vocalize, as hounds do, and she loves to watch for squirrels and rabbits, run, twirl, and toss her toys–especially when she has her dog friends, her cats, and her favorite people in tow.
Wrigley, a Labrador Retriever, was born on a farm near Plattsmouth, NE and is training for the therapy and crisis dog programs. Wrigley is a happy, active boy with a natural love of people, play, and “helping.” We await his certification and active entry onto the team.
Team pioneers, Sadie and Crosby died this past year. They were valuable members of the NOAH’s team before leaving us.
They join other great crisis team members including Hannah, Toby, Archie and Gus in ministering to the angels. Hannah’s person, Hallie, continues to be a valuable part of our team. Sadie and Crosby’s people are now training new canine members of the team.