Edmonton’s Zebra Child Protection Centre has added two very important new members to its team.
Their names are Triggs and Captain and they’re both two-year-old black Labrador retrievers. The dogs are the newest members of the Zebra Centre’s Very Important Paws Program, which offers support to children and youth within the centre during forensic interviews and during the judicial process at the Edmonton Law Courts.
“We are so excited to have Triggs and Captain join our VIP Program here at the Centre. Having two more dogs in our program is crucial in allowing us to continue offering the unique support and comfort for our children and youth that no human can offer,” Zebra Child Protection Centre board chair Allision McCollum said.
“The ability facility dogs have to relieve the stress that children and youth can feel is amazing to witness, and we are so grateful to add Triggs and Captain to our team.”
The Zebra Child Protection Centre was founded in 2002. The non-profit, community-based organization aims to improve the lives of children who have suffered abuse by bringing together a community of professionals under one roof to support the child throughout the entire disclosure, investigative, judicial and healing process.
Last year, the centre supported 2,362 children and youth who experienced abuse.
The VIP program started in 2013 as another crucial way to support children who have experienced abuse. Last year, support dogs Wren and Fletcher met with children 536 times both in the centre and at court.
Earlier this year, Wren retired, leaving Fletcher as the only member of the VIP team. Until now.
Triggs, who started training when he was just three days old, will primarily provide support to children and youth within the centre while they share their stories.
Captain, who also started training when he was three days old, will primarily work at the Edmonton Law Courts supporting youth in the waiting rooms and on the stand as they testify against the accused.
Both dogs were trained by the Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society.
“DWW Captain and DWW Triggs are the perfect match for the important work ahead of them at the Zebra Child Protection Centre,” said Doreen Slessor, executive director of DWW.
“They have each completed two years of advanced, specialized training allowing them to be trustworthy in the professional environments they will be working in.”
Triggs’ position was sponsored by the Ladies on the Green Golf Classic, a charity gold tournament that raises funds for the Zebra Centre.