Law Enforcement Intervention Studies
In 2018, B.A.R.K. held a pilot program to study the impact of therapy dogs and stress reduction in law enforcement officers and staff. Following the pilot program, an ongoing partnership with the Kelowna RCMP detachment, the City of Kelowna and B.A.R.K. was established. B.A.R.K. now hosts regular sessions for employees to attend.
2018-2023 by the numbers
Average participants per session
Total number of visits
“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.”
Supt. Brent Mundle, Officer-In-Charge, Kelowna
Regional RCMP (Canada Police Report)
In 2018, over the course of eight weeks, seven therapy dog and handler teams visited the Kelowna detachment allowing both city employees and RCMP members to spend time with therapy dogs to reduce their stress. A protocol to assess stress similar to what is done at UBC was used – with employees reporting their arrival and departure stress levels, and how long they spent interacting with the dogs and handlers.
Two-hundred and fifty-one employees made use of the B.A.R.K. program and, on average, visitors stayed just under 11 minutes. Across participants, significant reductions in stress were identified and findings from this study have contributed to the body of research attesting to the benefits of spending time with therapy dogs. This study was the first of its kind and helps us understand how stress within a detachment might be reduced through innovative programming.
Related Publications and presentations
Green, F. L. L. & Binfet, J. T. (2021). Therapy dogs, stress-reduction, and well-being within the detachment: Interviews with law-enforcement personnel. Human Animal Interaction Bulletin, 11(1), 10-35.
Binfet, J. T., Draper, Z. A., & Green, F. L. L. (2020). Stress reduction in law enforcement officers and staff through a canine-assisted intervention. Human Animal Interaction Bulletin, 8(2), 34-52.
Green, F. L. L. & Binfet, J. T., (2020, September). Uncovering the views of law enforcement personnel who participated in a canine assisted-intervention: A case study. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Liverpool, UK.
Binfet, J. T., Draper, Z. A., & Green, F. L. L. (2019, July 4). Reducing stress in law enforcement officers and staff through a canine-assisted intervention. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Orlando, Florida.
Castanet (2023, Mar. 12). Dogs Help Out RCMP: Kelowna Mounties take a break from their day with some happy puppies
Psychology Today (2021, Oct. 23). Cops and Therapy Canines: Wagging Tails Reduce Stress.
Gazette Magazine (2018, July 3) K9 comfort: Therapy dogs come to Kelowna detachment.
Penticton Herald (2018, Mar. 10) Mounties going to the dogs, and they couldn’t be happier.
Global News (2018, Mar. 8) Kelowna RCMP test pilot project using animals to reduce work stress.
CBC (2018, Mar. 8) Kelowna RCMP use therapy dogs to battle stress.
BC RCMP (2018, Mar. 8) UBC B.A.R.K. dog therapy program unleashed in the Kelowna RCMP Detachment.