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Rainbow’s Crisis Response Unit is composed of a dog and handler team who respond to high stress situations such as a shooting or other public emergency. The dogs are trained to remain focused and to offer emotional support. 

Dog with rescue worker

Mission Statement

Our goal is to help calm and support victims during a crisis or disaster and aid rescue workers, first responders and volunteers who respond on the scene.


What impact do the dogs have?

On its most basic level, contact with therapy dogs can affect the stress levels of the participants by lowering blood pressure, slowing heart rate, and reducing stress hormones.  Our Crisis Response Teams are trained in psychology first aid and the emotional effects of crisis and disasters.


What are the benefits?


When people touch an animal, endorphins in the brain are released. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that relieve pain. Simple acts such as smiling or laughing release endorphins. Petting an animal releases these endorphins, and petting a dog usually leads to a smile. Dogs also offer comfort and non-judgmental love. Studies have proven that even a short time with a dog decreases levels of anxiety and loneliness.
 
Crisis practice

Dogs on train
These dogs are riding on a train to become accustomed to the experience.



What training do the teams need?

Teams must be experienced in Rainbow Therapy Programs for one year before applying for Crisis Response work. The training for the Crisis Response Team certification is one year with ongoing training after certification. Teams are extensively screened for the proper temperament. All Crisis Response Team members and their dogs go through extensive training.
 
Rainbow Crisis Response Teams desensitize their dogs to common sights, sounds, and smells they may encounter at a disaster or crisis scene. All Rainbow Crisis Response dogs and handlers have experience on all public modes of transportation including airplanes, trains, and watercraft. They are trained for airport screenings, large crowds and elevated trains. 

All teams are re-evaluated yearly for certification.
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Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy, Inc. is an Illinois 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.


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