Salvation Army brings four-legged care to Southern Indiana
Animal assisted therapy teams visit tornado survivors
As organizations and individuals continue to assist survivors of a category F4 tornado that swept through Southern Indiana in early March, help is also being delivered not by humans but by animals—specifically, of the canine kind.
In partnership with The Salvation Army, animal-assisted therapy teams from the organization HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response (AACR) visited residents in the tornado-stricken areas. HOPE AACR has 100 certified crisis response teams across 34 states, and respond to all manner of crises, including major hurricanes, wildfires, train derailments and school shootings, according to its website.
Gayle Sprinkle with Charlie, and Deirdre Stanon with Brie assisted Captain Cynthia Shiels of The Salvation Army, in bringing joy to the survivors. “It’s amazing to see. People come up to the dogs and give them a hug,” Shiels said. “You can see their stress start to go down and they just light up. Pretty soon they’re opening up about their experience and their needs.”
To date, more than 150 Emergency Disaster Service volunteers have put in 2,360 hours in The Salvation Army’s response efforts as the organization continues to help families in tornado recovery.