Powered by Google Translate Translate
Powered by Google Translate Translate
Powered by Google TranslateTranslate
Close this search box.
Click Here

Support Paws

therapy dog

Benefits of Support Paws


Support Paws, formerly known as Canines for Community Resilience, is a canine assisted crisis response program. Support Paws is made of Animal Assisted Therapy teams that have shown proficiency in tolerating, adapting, and coping with the physical and emotional stress of critical incidents. The dog’s handler has advanced training in dog behavior, has knowledge of human and animal First Aid, and stress management.

Support Paws Teams:

  • Encourage resilience
  • Provide comfort and support
  • Provide effective, safe mental support to the impacted community
  • Aims to reduce stress symptoms and assist in a healthy recovery following a traumatic event, natural disaster, public health emergency or even a personal crisis
  • Help facilitate open communication
  • Create a safe environment
  • Provide a calm and comforting environment
  • Help people connect and draws attention outward
  • Decrease feelings of stress, anxiety, anger, depression, and hopelessness
  • Increase positive expectations of self and others
  • Foster feelings of safety and acceptance
  • Handlers are trained in Psychological First Aid, FEMA Incident Command Response, Suicide Prevention and Intervention, CPR/AED, and First Aid. 


  • O’Haire ME, Guérin NA, Kirkham AC. Animal-Assisted Intervention for trauma: a systematic literature review. Front Psychol. 2015 Aug 7;6:1121. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01121. PMID: 26300817; PMCID: PMC4528099.
  • Mental Health Conditions | HABRI. (2022). Retrieved 2 September 2022, from https://habri.org/research/mental-health/conditions/
  • Kline, J. A., Fisher, M. A., Pettit, K. L., Linville, C. T., & Beck, A. M. (2019). Controlled clinical trial of canine therapy versus usual care to reduce patient anxiety in the emergency department. PloS one14(1), e0209232.
  • Hoffmann, A. O., Lee, A. H., Wertenauer, F., Ricken, R., Jansen, J. J., Gallinat, J., & Lang, U. E. (2009). Dog-assisted intervention significantly reduces anxiety in hospitalized patients with major depression. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 1(3), 145-148.

Partnering Organizations and Purposes

  • Regional Communications Centers
  • BSO Safety and Wellness Division
  • County Resiliency Center
  • City and County Fire Stations
  • City and County Law Enforcement Agencies
  • City and County Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • De-stressing staff members following major incidents
  • Grief support


  • Broward Health
  • Various Emergency Rooms following major incidents
  • ICU Waiting Areas following major incidents
  • Death notifications
  • De-stressing staff members following major incidents
  • Assisting Behavior Health staff
  • Broward County Public Schools (BCPC)
  • Broward County Public Schools Guidance Department, Psychologists and School Counselors
  • Critical incident stress debriefs for Employee Assistance Programs
  • Any traumatic incident that affects the student body/staff
  • Provide support and reduce stress during the judicial process.
  • Help in the healing process for parents and guardians who are suffering from the loss of a child or children
  • Partner with licensed therapists who facilitate monthly meetings
  • Pastoral services at hospitals, fire departments, law enforcement agencies and congregations following major incidents
  • Memorial services
  • Death notifications
  • Grief from loss of loved ones