Facility dog joins EWUPD to comfort victims in need
Sporting a calm demeanor, a canine vest and an EWU leash, Hilani, a two-year-old golden retriever and Labrador mix, joined the EWU Police Department last month to help comfort victims in need, specifically those who have been victims of sexual assault.
“About three years ago, I started a sexual assault prevention program where I go into dorms, fraternities and sororities, and I talk about consent. Typically, after the class, I get disclosures,” Officer Tiffinni Archie said. “Having a dog will help us when we have victims too nervous or uncomfortable to disclose and need that extra help, so that’s what Hilani is here for.”
Archie was matched with Hilani through Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization that provides highly trained service dogs. Then, Hilani and Archie completed a two-week training course in Santa Rosa, California, where Archie learned commands and the trainers ensured that the match was the right fit.
“They said we were the fastest bond they’ve ever had,” Archie said. “Hilani and I were linked at the hip the second day I had her.”
Since training in mid-August, Archie and Hilani have been with each other 24/7 – Hilani lives with Archie, along with Archie’s three other dogs and two ferrets.
“She’s a dog’s dog. She loves dogs, any kind,” Archie said. “The ferrets are her little best friends, too. She’s very animal-oriented.”
While at work, Hilani is relaxed and even a little sleepy, but once her vest is off, Archie said Hilani’s personality is the complete opposite – she’s hyper.
“She likes to play, she likes to run, play hide-and-seek, fetch,” Archie said. “She’s a typical dog, but at work she’s really chill.”
With few facility dogs on university campuses, Hilani will serve as a bridge between campus and police. If you see Hilani on campus, please remember to ask before petting her.