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Kelowna  

Kelowna cops get ruff

Madison Erhardt

Kelowna RCMP are teaming up with some four-legged friends.

"Today is an introduction to our partnership with the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus and the B.A.R.K. program," Supt. Brent Mundle said Thursday.

Building Academic Retention through K9s, or B.A.R.K., is a dog therapy program under the direction of Dr. John-Tyler Binfet at UBC Okanagan.

B.A.R.K. brings together students, therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers in an effort to reduce stress.

The program is now being used on a eight-week trial basis with the local RCMP detachment.

"We’ve enthusiastically welcomed these trained therapy dogs into our very dynamic workplace, which is often prone to stressful situations, with employee health and wellness as our highest priority," Mundle said.

"There is no doubt in my mind that other RCMP detachments, municipal police departments and emergency first responder agencies are watching us closely here in Kelowna," he added.

On average, four therapy canines visit the detachment, accompanied by handlers, for two-hour drop-in sessions once a week. Two weeks remain in the trial phase. 

"We hope to see the dogs back for good soon after this project," Mundle said. 



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