MDFR and Animal Services team up for therapy dog ​​adoption and training program – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

HAULOVER BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is taking steps to comfort its first responders with the help of four-legged friends.

The department works with Miami-Dade Animal Services and the Greyhound Association to adopt dogs of various breeds and train them as resort therapy dogs.

7News cameras captured a trained therapy dog ​​”high-five” to his trainer at Haulover Beach on Monday.

“Good girl,” the coach said.

The dog was one of many four-legged apprentices that roamed near the beach.

The program is an extension of MDFR’s Response K-9 program which aims to help women and men who risk their lives every day.

“We witness a lot of ugly things as firefighters,” said an MDFR-trained captain.

Studies show that first responders are five times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

MDFR captain Shawn Campana said she hopes this program will help change that statistic.

“For the first time in 22 years that I have worked here, we are now seeing firefighters adopting a program that is good for their mental health,” she said. “Whether they know science or not, dogs always work. They give a sense of calm, a sense of connection, which is absolutely vital when dealing with something like PTSD.

Campana started the program three years ago after losing six friends and colleagues to suicide and PTSD. She described how it works.

“They respond with the peer support team. After a tough call, the team is called upon by the crews who made the call,” she said, “and the dogs become part of the peer response team and respond with people to make fusion.

The goal of therapy dogs is to calm situations after firefighters respond to a difficult call.

“We are more exposed to traumatic situations because of the calls we make for first responders and the police, so the suicide rate is higher than the general public,” said MDFR firefighter Jamie Blandon.

Now, with more dogs in the mix, county officials are hoping the program will expand statewide and nationwide.

“Firefighters need company, something to de-stress them,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. “These dogs need to be rescued, so we are placing them in this program, so they can be part of our family.”

MDFR currently has 10 therapy dogs.

Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our newsletter for the latest news straight to your inbox

Comments are closed.