Support dogs bring comfort to mudslide survivors

Support dogs bring comfort to mudslide survivors

SPOKANE, Wash. - The dogs of HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response have received hours of training to provide emotional support to people who have experienced a disaster or crisis.

Member of the organization are spread all across the nation, including Spokane. Just days after the mudslide, eight Spokane dogs and their owners went to some of the mudslide's hardest hit areas.

"They just loved all the dogs coming in to help them," said Debbie Wing of HOPE AACR.

They will continue to go back and forth from Oso, Arlington and Darrington, over the course of the next few months to assist mudslide victims who need the most help.

"The child daycare center, they were extremely depressed. They were saying, 'Why go on?' They were so comforted by the dogs. Within 45 minutes, they were singing, playing and talking about all the happy things instead of everything they had been talking about," said Wing

Karen Hathaway, the vice president of HOPE AACR, said the dogs literally take the pain away from those who are suffering.

"The dogs absorb all of their emotions so we have to be really careful of our dogs because they get really stressed because they are absorbing everything these people are feeling," said Hathaway. 

However, she said the dogs don't mind and they will continue to make visits to mudslide victims for however long they are needed.

"We have teams in Arlington, Oso and Darington and the feedback we've gotten was, thank you! It brought a lot of relief, comfort, it took them away from everything they've been dealing with," said Wing.

For more information on HOPE AACR, visit their website at

To make a tax deductible donation, download the printable mail-in donation form off their website, and be sure to specify the Pacific Northwest Region.