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Animal Impact on Survivors




Many of us have furry friends at home that keep us company, love us unconditionally, and bring smiles to our faces every day. The positive impact that our pets have on us is often a shared experience that many people can relate to. When it comes to people who have survived traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence survivors, this impact can be even greater and even essential to recovery at times. Animals are able to provide a level of emotional support that can often surpass that of words or strictly advocate interaction or counseling. The mental and emotional challenges that survivors and their children are facing are paramount concerns of Serene Harbor, and we take the healing process from these psychological wounds very seriously. This is why we have Lilly, our Certified Comfort Dog!


Lilly came to us from Sheriff Wayne Ivey's Paws and Stripes program where she graduated from an intensive 40 hour comfort dog program. She is trained to work with both adults and children to reduce anxiety and anger symptoms, stabilize negative moods, produce healthy social interactions, stimulating cognitive and emotional responses from survivors, and can even reduce symptoms of PTSD. The work that she does in our shelter is absolutely incredible and we could not be more thankful for the impact that she has on survivors, especially the children. Transitioning into a new and communal living environment can be difficult for adults, let alone kids whose brains are not fully developed and often do not understand the full gravity of the situation they are in. This is where Lilly can be seen getting involved with our intake process, safety planning, child counseling sessions and groups, and more! Lilly lives in our shelter building 24/7 so she is always there at a moment's notice to jump into any situation where she is needed. She has saved the day more times then staff can count and is an amazing asset of our center.



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