VICTIM SERVICES - Harley the dog is the RCMP Victim Services Unit’s first service dog. Harley will help victims of crime who are experiencing tragedy and trauma. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

Harley the dog is the RCMP’s newest recruit

Victim Services dog will help individuals navigating justice system and trauma

The Red Deer RCMP Victim Services unit has a new recruit who is two-feet tall, walks on all fours and isn’t against snuggling.

Harley the dog, a service dog that helps young people in particular navigate through tough situations like losing a loved one and having to go to court, was officially sworn in and received his City of Red Deer dog tags.

Holly Erb, RCMP constable and program coordinator for Red Deer Victim Services, said Harley has already been working and has been in court assisting victims who have gone through tragedy and trauma.

“Harley is a service dog and he has been brought in to assist our clients and the victims, witnesses and family members of anyone who has been experiencing trauma or tragedy,” she said. “That can come in the way of crime or it can come in the way of a death of a loved one.

“He will provide emotional support for them through the system, whatever that looks like.”

According to Erb, Harley is very empathetic which is key to his assistance with victims of crime.

“I would say dogs have a sixth sense and they know when people need assistance,” she said. “We do find that with all the victim service dogs, as well as in other areas, they tend to go to a person who is experiencing symptoms of anxiety and stress. That may be a first responder in our office who they tend to go towards or it may be our clients.

“They innately move towards them to provide assistance.”

Harley will allow Victim Services to offer more quality care to their clients.

“A lot of of our clients, which are underreported, are children or were victims as children,” she said. “They are expected to travel through the criminal justice system just as an adult would and Harley is expected to support them through that.

“They can lean on Harley through that and they can have him present while they make their statements or testify in court.”

Tara Veer, Red Deer mayor, said the addition of Harley to the police force was made possible by the fundraising efforts of the 2017 Notre Dame High School graduating class.

“Notre Dame raised $38,000, which covered the acquisition and the operation costs to keep this recruit on duty,” she said. “Harley is two years old and comes to us ready for duty. He was in court yesterday and some of the characteristics we know about him is that he is very mild-mannered, which made him very appropriate to be a Victim Services dog.”

It was Veer who officially presented Harley with his dog tags, which includes the number 9-1-1 on them in order for the community to know where he belongs.

“He is the first of our therapy dogs and he will serve victims, the RCMP and he will serve our community,” Veer said.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Rimbey parade attracts good crowd

Fun for all at Rimbey parade

Rimbey RCMP respond to over 50 calls this week

Charges are pending against habitual offender

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake elects its new MLA

The by-election was held in the riding on July 12

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Horse euthanized after fracturing leg in chuckwagon races at Calgary Stampede

B.C. animal rights group says that 60 horses have died in the event since 1986

Angry giant baby Trump balloon makes him feel ‘unwelcome’ in London

Trump told The Sun newspaper that he felt unwelcome in London because of protests, including a giant balloon that was being flown over Parliament on Friday.

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

Belgium finishes 3rd at World Cup, beats England 2-0

France and Croatia will play in the final on Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow

Police arrest Indigenous pipeline protester occupying B.C. park

Led by Kanahus Manuel, the Tiny House Warriors moved into park in Clearwater last week

‘Flipping Amazing’ Pancake Breakfast welcomes 6,000 Central Albertans

Westerner Days is, unofficially, underway after Bower Place held their annual Pancake Breakfast.

Most Read