Comfort Dog

Have you heard of the book Good Dogs, Great Listeners?  This book was written in honor of Charlotte Bacon who lost her life in the Sandy Hook tragedy. 

Meet Annabelle, Project Harmony’s Comfort Dog.  Annabelle is proof that good dogs do make great listeners.  Annabelle helps kids feel safe and comfortable telling their story.  She calms their fears and brings smiles to faces that have not smiled in a long time.  We keep a journal with some amazing, heartfelt stories of Annabelle with our clients.

For example, we had a 15 year old girl who came to Project Harmony.  Annabelle could sense she needed some love and attention.  She started licking the girl’s left arm all over (the same arm the girl would cut herself)…it was as if Annabelle could feel the pain this girl was feeling inside.  The girl’s father saw how happy his daughter was with Annabelle and he immediately started looking for another comfort dog for her.

Anyone who has felt a connection with a pet and experienced that unconditional love, understanding, and acceptance, knows the value of a pet’s companionship. These qualities make animals ideal therapeutic visitors for children, adolescents and adults.

Testimonial

E and T are being seen for mental therapy at Project Harmony. E has been diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Due to her diagnosis she struggles with sadness, feeling jumpy, nervous, and angry. She has a tendency to watch out for danger and worry about bad things happening. She has difficulty sleeping at night and has nightmares on a regular basis. E can be triggered very easily which cause memories of her trauma to come to her mind when she does not want them to.

E and T have responded very well to Annabelle, Project Harmony's Facility dog. Due to their interest and the joy they got out of seeing Annabelle each Wednesday, their mom asked this therapist if she thought the girls would benefit from getting a cat or small dog. Due to the research in the healing benefits of having a pet and how the girls have responded to Annabelle, this therapist thought this would help them with their healing process.

The family recently adopted an adult cat named Avery from the Nebraska Humanes Society. The girls talk about their cat often and have responded positively to having him in their home. E and T continue to look forward to seeing Annabelle at Project Harmony and spending time walking and feeding her treats each week. Recently they got their picture taken with Annabelle and were so excited to be able to take the photo home. Both girls held on to their pictures tightly and were not going to let go!!

During session this week, E stated that she doesn't need her "safe blanket" and "stuffed animal puppy" at therapy anymore, something she kept here and needed to have for comfort and safety since beginning therapy. She was asked if this is because she feels safe here even without them. She smiled, nodded her head, and said, "yes." Emma completed a page in her TF-CBT workbook on her "safe place" in session. She said, "I know... therapy! Therapy is my safe place." She had this therapist write the word "therapy" on the worksheet, then "Project Harmony," and then she listed the people at Project Harmony who she knows and feels safe with listing, Nicki, April, Mindy, Annabelle (facility dog), and Amy. Annabelle continues to help these girls feel safe, secure, and happy and helps them work through their trauma. Thank you Annabelle!!