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