British Columbia

Therapy dog in Prince George 'a star everywhere he goes'

Max, a nine-year-old RCMP therapy dog, makes connections with people instantly, says his handler and helps others by making connections with people who may be going through some of the worst moments of their lives.

9-year-old Max helps victims and even officers deal with stress and trauma

Max, a nine-year-old therapy dog, "has an ability to connect with people so much quicker than a human does," his handler Krista Levar says. (Audrey McKinnon/CBC)

Daybreak North spent Friday, March 11 broadcasting live from the Salvation Army food bank in Prince George to discover local heroes, and one guest showed you don't have to be human to make a difference in peoples' lives.

Max is a therapy dog with Prince George RCMP Victim Services who helps people in crisis get through challenging times, such as testifying in court.

According to his handler, Krista Levar, coordinator for Prince George RCMP Victim Services Section, Max is able to make a difference for traumatized people instantly.

"I'm always, always, always so impressed by every interaction he has with people," Levar told Daybreak North host Robert Doane.

"He has an ability to connect with people so much quicker than a human does. What might take me half-an-hour, three hours, four days of time, he can make that connection in a heartbeat."

Max and his handler, Krista Levar (right), mingle with the crowd at Daybreak North's live broadcast from the Salvation Army food bank. (Betsy Trumpener/CBC)

Levar says therapy dogs like Max help ground people, adding that when a victim, especially a child, is feeling overwhelmed by the court process, simply touching Max can help get their testimony back on track.

Even RCMP officers lean on Max when the weight of their duties gets to them, Levar says.

"He's literally a star everywhere he goes," she said.

Levar says the way Max connects with people speaks to the power of connecting with others in  a non-judgemental way, and how we don't need words to make that connection.

This story originally appeared on CBC Radio One's Daybreak North.

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Meet the Prince George therapy dog who helps victims and even police deal with trauma


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