• Proud to be From Pittsburgh: Local group helping shooting survivors with a new kind of therapy

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    PITTSBURGH - Cooper, Jewel Lee, Nelly and Gryffin are canine advocates at the Center for Victims on the south side.

    "They are selected based on their capacity for attunement. Are they able to be attuned to somebody's emotional state?" explained Cindy Sneider, director of clinical services at the center.

    Research shows interaction with dogs lowers the stress hormone cortisol in humans. So two and a half years ago, the Pittsburgh-based organization that helps victims started a new program with one dog. The dogs typically meet victims at a hospital and accompany them through every step of a very difficult process.

    "The goal is to have the child leave the interview talking more about their experience with the dog than the possibly horrible things they had to talk about in the interview room," Sneider said.

    The canine advocates have helped hundreds of people, including victims of the Tree of Life shooting.


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