'It really is just a godsend': Capitol Police welcome peer support dog Lila
"The peer dogs were something that we saw came in for us after the 6th," said Jeffrey Albanese, a member of the USCP First Responders Unit and an active member in the peer support program.
It really is just a godsend."
On January 6, USCP Officer Caroline Edwards was holding the line on the West Front of the US Capitol as hundreds of people came tearing through the barricades where she was standing.
From there, it was hours of hand-to-hand combat she describes as nothing short of "a war zone."
Lila pictured here in a tweet from the US Capitol Police.
Lila started her life in training with a different purpose, but a weakness for squirrels helped bring her to the Capitol.
"So she went into a different kind of training to be very comfortable with groups, to be comfortable with crowds.
Support dogs have played an increasingly vital role on Capitol Hill since January even before Lila and Leo became official members of the team.
After his memorial service, several support dogs including Officer Clarence, a St. Bernard, were dispatched to help comfort officers and the entirety of the Capitol Hill community.
Lila is also just a part of the larger effort on Capitol Hill to give officers more support.
Since January 6, the job has become more difficult , and officers have worked to build out a peer support program to address some of the challenges officers face day to day.
"Somehow we have to find a way to pay it forward to these groups who were here for us."