Dog Helping the Helpers

A new breed of facility dog supports first responders
Delray with Emergency Medical Services team

When Delray runs—ears waving like wings and jowls flying—you wouldn’t guess he’s the first of his kind in North America: an Emergency Medical Services professional peer-support dog. Purpose-bred, highly trained and heavily invested in, the big black Lab has an important job: help the helpers we rely on when catastrophes happen.

Imagine you’re a first responder. You’re routinely present for the worst moments of a person’s life, and far too many deaths. While part of the honor and reward of this high-impact profession, this also puts you at risk for psychological injury. The suicide rate among first responders (paramedics, firefighters and police) is tragically high, and services available for prevention and treatment of occupational stress injuries are still catching up.

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