On this page you will find the answers to some of the most common questions we get about our OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dogs
Q. Do all forces have OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dogs?
A. The scheme has been hugely popular among Police Forces and Fire and Rescue Services so we have a good spread of dogs throughout England and Wales, we presently do not have an OK9 dog in every force – but we are getting there!
Q. Who runs my local OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dog scheme?
A. There is a single point of contact (SPOC) for each force or service and this person is the lead for the OK9 scheme and has the responsibility for ensuring it meets national standards. If you do not know who your SPOC is please contact us using the button at ash bottom of this page, and we will supply details (providing you are emailing from a force/service email address).
Q. Is the scheme safe and has the dog’s welfare been considered?
A. Absolutely. We are determined to maintain the highest standards of animal welfare for our wonderful OK9 wellbeing dogs. We have ongoing training for all our handlers, where welfare and safety are priorities that are frequently reinforced and all aspects of what we do are reviewed regularly. We have specialist standing operating procedures and risk assessments to ensure that we operate in a safe and considerate way at all times. All forces/services must have these in place and a signed service level agreement is required before any organisation can join the OK9 group.
Q. How do I go about setting up an OK9 wellbeing dog scheme in my force or service?
A. We are here to help you set up and launch your scheme and have a huge amount of resources to help you navigate your way. It is important to link in with your wellbeing team from the beginning and we will guide you every step of the way as you set up your OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dog scheme!
Q. I have a dog that I think will make a great OK9 wellbeing dog – what do I do next?
A. The dog is only part of the package! What is really essential is that the Handler is passionate about looking after the wellbeing of colleagues and is willing to become a peer supporter. They must also be supported by their supervisor and be given time to do the peer support and OK9 Handler role. If this sounds like you and you are in a job where it is practical and safe to have a dog at work when you are practising peer support please contact your force or service SPOC to inquire if there are any opportunities to join the local scheme. Please note that many forces or services will already have sufficient OK9 wellbeing dogs in place and may not be requiring new additions to their team at this time.
Q. Do I need to complete any qualifications to be an OK9 Handler
A. Different forces and services will have different criteria’s for their OK9 handlers but all will need to be Oscar Kilo peer support trained - please contact your individual SPOC for more details.
Q. Is there a test for the dogs to complete?
A. Yes, it is vital that we get the right dogs and handlers for the role. The dogs and handlers have to pass an OK9 suitability assessment.
Q. My force/service does not currently have any OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dogs can we ‘borrow’ yours?
A. The vibrant network of OK9 handlers and SPOC’s are keen to mutually help each other and we have provided assistance to other forces when needed but the scheme works best when all forces/services have OK9 dogs so they can support one another and share the workload. It would not be fair to rely on other forces/services ‘goodwill’ for any length of time and each individual force or service is encouraged to initiate their own OK9 scheme and contribute to the national group and support each other.
Q. Is there a charge or fee for joining the OK9 group?
A. No, the OK9 national group is funded by the National Police Wellbeing Service and all support, guidance, materials and some promotional items are supplied free of charge.
Q. How do I ‘book’ a visit from an OK9 wellbeing dog?
A. Within your own force/service please contact your SPOC. If you are requesting the presence of OK9 wellbeing dogs for an event, conference, mutual aid or other purpose please contact us using the button at the bottom of this page.
Q. I have liaised with my Wellbeing Team and I am keen to get this up and running in my force/service , what do I do next?
A. Contact us using the button below and he we'll arrange a meeting to discuss all aspects and send you everything you need to get started 😊
If you have a query not listed on this page or need to make contact regarding any of the questions above please use the link below