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Animal-Assisted Crisis Response
Specialized Canine Intervention for Individuals Affected by Disasters and Crises
Edited by Yvonne M. Eaton-Stull
ISBN: 978-0-87101-554-9. 2020. Item #5549. 208 pages.
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Earn 5.0 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.

Animals can be valuable allies in the aftermath of a natural disaster or human-made crisis. There is growing research that the presence of specially trained canines can help survivors and first responders recover both physically and mentally from traumatic events. Touching or being in the presence of a dog can lower heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels; relieve anxiety; lessen isolation; amplify feelings of support and comfort; bolster motivation and morale; and improve expression and regulation of emotions. When survivors are alone, displaced, or separated from loved ones, dogs can connect them to helping professionals and networks of support.

Animal-assisted crisis response (AACR) is a unique and proven intervention following crises and disasters. AACR teams are specially skilled, trained, and evaluated handlers with therapy dogs deployed after myriad incidents, including natural disasters, school or other mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and suicides, and also in nonemergency programs such as grief camps for children and memorial services for community traumas.

Through detailed case studies written by certified crisis dog handlers, this book demonstrates how each AACR presents its own unique challenges and opportunities. The authors discuss the intersection of psychological first aid (PFA) and AACR, offering canine-based techniques that can be incorporated into PFA and all trauma-informed care.

Deployment best practices are discussed in detail from pre-deployment preparation, active deployment scenarios, and post-deployment evaluation, self-care, and stress management for both humans and canines. Crucially, this book recommends building effective partnerships with local, state, and national organizations and governments.

On television and in our private sessions, we are bombarded with news of crises and disasters that affect both survivors and responders. For social workers on the frontlines who would like to expand their crisis response skill set, this book provides foundational knowledge of AACR and the skills and traits of effective handlers and team leaders. For those already using AACR, this book is a necessary resource to ensure practitioner competence and to inform best practices.

Part 1: Context for Animal-Assisted Crisis Response

Chapter 1: Introduction to Animal-Assisted Crisis Response
Yvonne M. Eaton-Stull and Brian Flynn

Chapter 2: Crisis Intervention, Psychological First Aid, and Animal-Assisted Crisis Response Application
Mandy Fauble

Chapter 3: Skills and Traits Enhancing Handler Suitability for Animal-Assisted Crisis Response
Kay Scott

Chapter 4: Challenges of Crisis Response Work
Heather White

Chapter 5: Self-Care and Stress Management
Daniel M. Eaton

Chapter 6: Canine Stress in Animal-Assisted Crisis Response Work
Dae Grodin

Chapter 7: Reciprocal Partnerships in Animal-Assisted Crisis Response
Cynthia Wright and Melanie Dunbar

Part 2: Applications of Animal-Assisted Crisis Response

Chapter 8: Natural Disasters Pose Unique Challenges for Animal-Assisted Crisis Response
Deborah Hatherley

Chapter 9: Mass Violence and Animal-Assisted Crisis Response
Yvonne M. Eaton-Stull and Brian Flynn

Chapter 10: Grief and Loss: Animal-Assisted Crisis Response Applications
Yvonne M. Eaton-Stull

Chapter 11: Animal-Assisted Crisis Response across Generations
Yvonne M. Eaton-Stull

Chapter 12: Interventions in the School Setting
Jennifer VonLintel

Chapter 13: Case Studies from Human-Caused Crises
Ned Polan, Sue Herman, and Sheila Consaul

Chapter 14: Case Studies from Natural Disasters
Bette Caldwell, Steve Booth, Bari Boersma, Vicki D’Amico, Sharen Fisher, and Harry Schlitz

Appendix A: Canine Animal-Assisted Crisis Response Readiness Checklist
Yvonne M. Eaton-Stull and Janet Velenovsky
Appendix B: Personal Animal-Assisted Crisis Response Readiness Checklist
Yvonne M. Eaton-Stull and Brian Flynn

About the Editor
About the Contributors

Yvonne M. Eaton-Stull, DSW, LCSW, is an associate professor of social work at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. She teaches courses in animal-assisted intervention and crisis intervention. Eaton-Stull specializes in crisis intervention, forensic social work, and animal-assisted social work and has provided clinical intervention to children and adults for many years. She has three therapy dogs and actively provides animal-assisted therapy in various mental health facilities. She is also a canine handler with HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response, where she has provided animal-assisted crisis intervention following crises and disasters throughout the United States, such as the Virginia Tech shooting; Indiana tornadoes; and the Navy Yard, Washington, DC, shootings. Her recent research has included numerous studies implementing animal-assisted interventions in state prisons around grief and loss, stress management, and self-injury.
Earn 5.0 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.