It was organized with the idea of supporting victims of anti-Asian hate crimes with animal assisted therapy in a safe space. Pet therapy has been found to reduce PTSD symptoms, as well as lowering levels of depression and anxiety.
KCS seeks to provide safe spaces in the community alongside resources to enhance health, cultural connectivity, safety and socialization. The pet therapy initiative is one of their attempts to increase direct services to members of the community.
“Our very first Pet Therapy event was super successful and all our community members really loved the bonding time with the animals,” said Sara Hwang, a program manager at KCS who organized the event. “It was a great opportunity for all of us to connect and have a comfortable time with these animals.”
Hwang was inspired by animal therapy events that her college would organize when finals week would come around to reduce academic stress. She hoped that the KCS event would be able to alleviate some of the negative emotions victims are experiencing in their healing journey.
The event was held in partnership with Best Friend Animal Society, who brought over several of their pets for the event. Jenny and Moongchy, a New Jersey based pet accessory store also provided attendees with gift bags.
The next therapy session will be held on Nov. 11 in partnership with Korean K9 Rescue, a volunteer dog-rescue organization based in Queens. They focus on rescuing mistreated dogs from South Korea and placing them in homes across the United States.