Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Saskatchewan Health Authority partners with Gateway Regional Victim Services for Facility Dog program

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is partnering with Gateway Regional Victim Services for a Facility Dog program to support people in central and northern Saskatchewan.

“The tragedy involving the Humboldt Broncos demonstrated the importance of having a variety of supports available for people involved in a traumatic event. This includes those directly involved in the event, family members, friends, and the entire community,” said Suann Laurent, Chief Operating Officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). “As a Victim Services Facility Dog, Quinn will support requests from the SHA, victims of reported or unreported crime, victims of traumatic events, and other at risk patients/clients. The emphasis is on individuals who are most vulnerable, for example: child abuse victims, domestic violence victims, sexual assault victims, seniors who are victims of illegal home entry.”

The SHA’s three-year agreement will support the Facility Dog program through Gateway Regional Victim Services as an addition to other supports available through victim services and the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

“We are excited about the new funding partnership with Saskatchewan Health Authority that will offer us the opportunity to expand our services to include a Certified Facility Service Dog and Handler through Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society,” said Carol Wittal, Coordinator, Gateway Regional Victim Services. “Our facility dog, Quinn, has been trained to help ease the effects of trauma that victims of crime and tragedy experience. Quinn can be present at the various stages of a critical situation providing emotional support. This can be at the scene of the initial crisis or tragic event, at client interactions when victims are being interviewed and at Criminal Court when victims have to testify.

Quinn will live with GRVS-trained Facility Dog Handler, Jillian Doucet, who is the primary handler and will be with her at the offices within the service area on a daily basis.

“It is our honour and privilege to gift the community with Quinn your new Accredited Facility Dog. He is the perfect fit for the work ahead of him helping to comfort and support those most in need. It’s a big job, but not too big for a dog with an even bigger heart,” said Doreen Slessor, Executive Director, Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society.

“Capital GMC is excited to be the official vehicle sponsor of the SJHL,” said Kevin Gatschene, New Vehicles Manager for Capital GM, which is supplying the program with a Buick Envision, an SUV AWD. “Hockey has always been the hub of many communities in Saskatchewan and the support that hockey families give to each other not only from their own community but from team to team has always been at the heart of what we think Saskatchewan is all about. When we were asked to partner with the SJHL and SHA we were honored to be invited into that family.”

Gateway Regional Victim Services is a non-profit organization funded by the Ministry of Justice that provides assistance to victims of crime and other traumatic events. We are a police-based program covering RCMP detachment areas in Big River, Blaine Lake, Green Lake, Loon Lake, Meadow Lake, Pierceland, Prince Albert, Rosthern, Shellbrook, Spiritwood and Wakaw, including 17 Cree/First Nations. Our corporate office is located in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with district offices on Ahthakakoop Cree Nation and in Meadow Lake. Our staff and trained volunteers provide support to victims through crisis intervention, court preparation, court accompaniment, information, referrals to local agencies, and much more. Our organization provides community based support to all individuals in a courteous and compassionate manner that respects dignity and privacy while promoting personal well-being.

Click here to find out more about the Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society.