Capitol police welcome support dog Lila

Since June, Lila has officially served as a dog supporting war veterans, a comforting spiritual animal that is part of a larger effort to connect officials with resources and support services they may need – not just the January 6 riots. at the US Capitol, but also to address the stress and insecurity of work.

Already, police say Lila is performing important procedures.

“Peer dogs was something we saw come to us after day 6,” said Jeffrey Albanese, a member of the USCP First Responders Unit and an active member of the peer support program. “Having Lila here right now and we have our dog. It’s really just godend.”

On January 6, USCP Officer Caroline Edwards was holding a rope at the West Front of the US Capitol when hundreds of people came tearing apart the bridges where she was standing. Since then, it has been hours of hand-to-hand combat he describes as a shorter thing than a “battlefield.” Edwards suffered from a brain injury and in the months that followed he says he once struggled to recover from the stress of the day.

But Edwards – like his colleagues – found that Lila was making a difference.

“He helped with the difficult experiences we had. We brought him on Brian Sicknick’s birthday,” said Edwards referring to a fallen officer who died after fighting in the West Front the day after the coup. “We’ve brought her to the roll call of her transformation, and it just helps to help people forget a little bit.”

Lila is part of a team with four-year-old lab Leo labs not only to give police a smile, a wagging tail and some affection from a child, but also to be an incentive to start conversations with adults who may not want to ask for help or assistance when they need help.

“She is working a second job,” said her caregiver health coordinator Dimitri Louis. “She helps to reduce stress and helps with emotional well-being, but she also has the skills to help us improve some of the health resources we have in the department … She allows us to go to our places.”

Lila began her life in training with a different purpose, but the squirrel’s weakness helped bring her to the Capitol.

“He started out as a sighted dog. He went through training to be a sighted dog, but then, kryptonite: Maskil. And that became an issue,” said Louis. “So he got into the kind of training to stay comfortable with groups, to get along with groups of people. The training made him fit for what he is doing right now.”

Support dogs have done increasingly important work on Capitol Hill since January even before Lila and Leo became members of the team. In April, just as the Capitol building began to recover from the January incidents, Officer William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year-old Capitol police officer, was killed on duty when a car hit a barricade outside. The U.S. Senate After his memorial funeral, several support dogs including Officer Clarence, St. Bernard, they were sent to help comfort the elders and the entire area of ​​Capitol Hill.
Comfort dogs get bipartisan support on Capitol Hill

“They had a lot of support dogs there that day and they were just going through the line and for a while, you weren’t at a police officer’s funeral, you were holding a dog,” Edwards said. “For me, it’s the most important thing to have them there at such events just to help calm down, and it makes you think about something good.”

At the moment, Lila is being sent more and more to the appointments and if the military expects there to be a need, but officials say Lila could also be a source for other troubled departments and, a way to pay forward to support received by USCP on January 6.

“We’ve all had some bad days,” Albanese said. “The minute the dog enters the room, even for a minute, you forget about it.”

Lila is also part of a larger effort at Capitol Hill to provide officials with support. Since January 6, work has become more tense, and officials have worked hard to build a peer support program to address some of the challenges facing leaders on a daily basis.

“Inspiration came from other projects after six and how they came to help us,” Albanese said. “Somehow we have to find a way to pay ourselves forward to these groups that have been here for us.”

As for Lila, she is continuing to earn brilliant rewards.

“Therapeutic dogs provide another opportunity for people to reach dogs, for another member of Congress,” a Pennsylvania Democratic spokesman said. Mary Gay Scanlon told CNN. “I know there is bipartisan support for treating dogs.”

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