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A golden opportunity for Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach

Lt. Col. Goldie poses for a photo on the flight line in front of a C-17 Globemaster III, Oct. 20, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie, the only U.S. Air Force therapy dog, is stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., and took part in the 436th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach by visiting Team Dover personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Lt. Col. Goldie poses for a photo on the flight line in front of a C-17 Globemaster III, Oct. 20, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie, the only U.S. Air Force therapy dog, is stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., and took part in the 436th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach by visiting Team Dover personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Lt. Col. Goldie wears his custom-made Airman Battle Uniform vest donning silver oak leaf clusters, Oct. 19, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie was promoted to his current rank by the Air Force Thunderbirds in September during the 2017 Joint Base Andrews, Md., air show. The purple ribbon worn on his ABU vest is in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Lt. Col. Goldie wears his custom-made Airman Battle Uniform vest donning silver oak leaf clusters, Oct. 19, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie was promoted to his current rank by the Air Force Thunderbirds in September during the 2017 Joint Base Andrews, Md., air show. The purple ribbon worn on his ABU vest is in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Laura Miller, 436th Comptroller Squadron financial analysis officer, pets Lt. Col. Goldie as he visits Team Dover personnel during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Oct.19, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie is a nine-year-old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Laura Miller, 436th Comptroller Squadron financial analysis officer, pets Lt. Col. Goldie as he visits Team Dover personnel during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Oct.19, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie is a nine-year-old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Maj. Regina Owen, 436th Medical Operations Squadron psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, introduces Lt. Col. Goldie, a nine-year-old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., to members of the 436th Comptroller Squadron, Oct. 19, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. As part of Family Advocacy’s outreach during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Owen escorted Goldie around the base to meet with Team Dover personnel during his temporary duty assignment to Dover. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Maj. Regina Owen, 436th Medical Operations Squadron psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, introduces Lt. Col. Goldie, a nine-year-old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., to members of the 436th Comptroller Squadron, Oct. 19, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. As part of Family Advocacy’s outreach during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Owen escorted Goldie around the base to meet with Team Dover personnel during his temporary duty assignment to Dover. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Addison Burrows, center, pets Lt. Col. Goldie, the only U.S. Air Force therapy dog visiting personnel on the base as part of Family Advocacy’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach, Oct. 19, 2017, at the Fitness Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Addison is the daughter of MaryAnne Burrows, pictured on the left, and Master Sgt. Chris Burrows, 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Addison Burrows, center, pets Lt. Col. Goldie, the only U.S. Air Force therapy dog visiting personnel on the base as part of Family Advocacy’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach, Oct. 19, 2017, at the Fitness Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Addison is the daughter of MaryAnne Burrows, pictured on the left, and Master Sgt. Chris Burrows, 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Maj. Regina Owen, 436th Medical Operations Squadron psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and Jennifer Houseman, 436th MDOS Family Advocacy program assistant, both top right, watch Team Dover members pet and talk to U.S. Air Force therapy dog Lt. Col. Goldie, a nine-year-old Golden Retriever, Oct. 19, 2017, in the passenger terminal on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie is stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., and was part of Family Advocacy’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach by going around the base meeting Team Dover personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Maj. Regina Owen, 436th Medical Operations Squadron psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and Jennifer Houseman, 436th MDOS Family Advocacy program assistant, both top right, watch Team Dover members pet and talk to U.S. Air Force therapy dog Lt. Col. Goldie, a nine-year-old Golden Retriever, Oct. 19, 2017, in the passenger terminal on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie is stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., and was part of Family Advocacy’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach by going around the base meeting Team Dover personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Jennifer Houseman, 436th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy program assistant; Lt. Col. Goldie; Maj. Regina Owen, 436th MDOS psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; and Ruth Yeboah, 436th MDOS domestic abuse victim advocate, pose for a photo on the flight line in front of a C-17 Globemaster III, Oct. 20, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie, the only U.S. Air Force therapy dog, is stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., took part in the 436th MDOS Family Advocacy Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach by visiting Team Dover personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Jennifer Houseman, 436th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy program assistant; Lt. Col. Goldie; Maj. Regina Owen, 436th MDOS psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; and Ruth Yeboah, 436th MDOS domestic abuse victim advocate, pose for a photo on the flight line in front of a C-17 Globemaster III, Oct. 20, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie, the only U.S. Air Force therapy dog, is stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., took part in the 436th MDOS Family Advocacy Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach by visiting Team Dover personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Col. Dawn Lancaster, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations commander, gives Lt. Col. Goldie a treat and a kiss on the nose during his visit with AFMAO personnel, Oct. 20, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie is a nine-year old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., came to the base to be part of the 436th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Col. Dawn Lancaster, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations commander, gives Lt. Col. Goldie a treat and a kiss on the nose during his visit with AFMAO personnel, Oct. 20, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie is a nine-year old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., came to the base to be part of the 436th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month outreach. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chief Master Sgt. Meshelle Dyer, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations chief enlisted manager, pets Lt. Col. Goldie during his visit to AFMAO, Oct. 20, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie is a nine-year old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. He is the only therapy dog in the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chief Master Sgt. Meshelle Dyer, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations chief enlisted manager, pets Lt. Col. Goldie during his visit to AFMAO, Oct. 20, 2017, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Goldie is a nine-year old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. He is the only therapy dog in the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Maj. Regina Owen, 436th Medical Operations Squadron psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, introduces Lt. Col. Goldie, a nine-year-old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., to local area military retirees, Oct. 21, 2017, at The Landings on Dover Air Force Base, Del. As part of Family Advocacy’s outreach during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Owen and Goldie stopped in during Dover AFB Retiree Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)
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Maj. Regina Owen, 436th Medical Operations Squadron psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, introduces Lt. Col. Goldie, a nine-year-old Golden Retriever therapy dog stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., to local area military retirees, Oct. 21, 2017, at The Landings on Dover Air Force Base, Del. As part of Family Advocacy’s outreach during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Owen and Goldie stopped in during Dover AFB Retiree Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- On the four-hour ride from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Lt. Col. Goldie hardly uttered a sound as Maj. Regina Owen, 436th Medical Operations Squadron psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, drove her guest to meet with Team Dover members for his four-day temporary duty assignment Oct. 18-21, 2017, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Lt. Col. Goldie, the only therapy dog in the U.S. Air Force, is a nine-year-old Golden Retriever stationed at WRNMMC where he and his sister-service therapy dogs typically work Monday through Friday visiting patients.

Wearing his custom-made Airman Battle Uniform vest donning silver oak leaf clusters, Owen, Jennifer Houseman, 436th MDOS Family Advocacy program assistant, and Ruth Yeboah, 436th MDOS domestic abuse victim advocate, escorted Goldie around the base to meet personnel at roll calls and squadron offices informing them about Goldie’s daily routine, purpose and history as a therapy dog, while the three performed domestic violence awareness outreach.

“Today Goldie is working for Family Advocacy and this is a new lane for him,” said Owen. “He loves doing outreach and I believe this is his first outreach.”

As the Family Advocacy staff escorted Goldie around the base, some personnel were expecting to meet with a human Lt. Col., not a dog.

“Lt. Col. Goldie was a great icebreaker that allowed us to spread DV awareness and have a little (a lot of) fun as well,” said Houseman. “This was Goldie's first time doing outreach and I would have to say it was very successful. When you walk into a room with Goldie, you immediately see smiles and hear sounds of joy.”

Eliminating any negative connotations associated with Family Advocacy was an added benefit for having Goldie come along during the outreach visits.

“There is a stigma that going to Family Advocacy will end one's career; however, we want to get the message out that FAP is not a punitive agency,” said Yeboah. “Our aim is to provide services and resources that will create healthy relationships through prevention and treatment.”

Typically, briefings given by Family Advocacy staff are conducted at commander calls or special events informing base personnel on programs, policies and procedures.

“Team Dover does not have very many opportunities to engage with the Family Advocacy staff other than to visit us at the 436th Medical Group in our environment. It was great to have the opportunity to visit their work locations,” Houseman said.

Working with Goldie since 2014, Owen is one of two U.S. Air Force and seven U.S. Navy handlers who work with Goldie.

“I originally brought him [Goldie] to see patients where he and the patient sit on the floor and gets them to open up,” said Owen. “If we go into a room full of people, he will usually go to the person who is in need. He is very treat-driven.”

Family Advocacy staff received positive feedback from personnel regarding domestic violence awareness and Goldie’s office visits.

“We have heard from staff in several squadrons that it is nice to be able to pet a dog like Goldie during work,” said Houseman. “It is soothing and calming to have a therapy dog when people are in high-stress jobs or those who are in units that are not as appreciated.”

Goldie was promoted from 2nd Lt. to Major Nov. 12, 2014, by former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III, in a ceremony held at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. He was promoted to his current rank by the Air Force Thunderbirds in September during the 2017 Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, air show.

Before returning to WRNMMC, Goldie and Owen stopped at The Landings for one more outreach opportunity with local area retirees attending the annual Dover AFB Retiree Day activities.

The base Family Advocacy Office can be reached at 302-677-2711 and the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate at 302-677-5674. The after hours/emergency DAVA number is 302-213-3508. If you fear for your immediate safety call 436th Security Forces Squadron at 677-6664 or dial 911.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or www.thehotline.org.