Shelter Spotlight: Companions for Courage
Companions for Courage is not your typical animal shelter. This shelter does take in homeless dogs, but they do not simply rehabilitate them and send them out for adoption – they train them as therapy dogs and offer their services for free. What began as a special bond between a dog and his handler has blossomed into a wonderful advocacy organization that has helped countless children.
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The Story Behind Companions for Courage
When you visit the Companions for Courage website you will be greeted by the company’s mission which is to “help those who cannot help themselves”. It all began when Missy, the founder of Companions for Courage, came across a husky and white shepherd mix she named Woolf. As she got to know Woolf, she noticed that he had a special ability to help and support her when she was struggling with anxiety. Eager to share Woolf’s abilities with the world, she began taking him around to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Where Woolf really found his calling, however, was with children.
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Today, Companions for Courage is all about forming a bond between the dog and the individual. In addition to offering general animal therapy services, dogs like Woolf also provide security and support for child victims who are called to testify in court. What began as a modest volunteer operation has grown into a large children’s advocacy program that has helped thousands of children. Companions for Courage was officially founded in 2012 and merged with South Lake Animal League in 2015 as a means of growing their Community Outreach Program.
What Services Does Companions for Courage Offer?
The Companions for Courage organization’s primary purpose is to provide support and security for children as they go through various legal proceedings. Trained therapy dogs can assist children who are called to testify in court or to comfort them during depositions – they can even accompany children in counselling sessions. Outside of the legal aspect of the company’s mission, Companions for Courage also provides dogs for children to help them cope with traumatic situations. These services can be requested by a counselor, lawyer, law enforcement officer, or any judicial agency and services are always provided free of charge to those in need.
How Can You Support this Organization?
If you have a heart for the type of work Companions for Courage does, there are plenty of ways you can support this wonderful organization. If you live in the Central Florida area, you can always donate your time as a volunteer, especially if you have a dog who has completed Therapy Dog certification. Companions for Courage requires their handlers to work with their therapy dogs for at least two years before accepting them into the program and the dog must be accustomed to a variety of different environments. Dogs must also pass a veterinary health check and be up to date on vaccinations.
If volunteering or working with a therapy dog doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, donations are also accepted and appreciated! Companions for Courage is a wonderful organization that has changed the lives of countless children and anything you can do to help makes a difference!
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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