The job of a first responder is never easy and it takes a toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. So when James Anderson, battalion chief of Berkeley County Emergency Medical Sevices (EMS), discovered a therapy dog program used by a North Carolina EMS organization, he immediately jumped at the idea. He knew that these dogs could help his team as they deal with their work every day.
He quickly talked about the idea to his boss and soon enough, the groundwork for the program was laid.
The program which they called Canine Assistance Support Team (CAST) then sought the help of Companions for Heroes for their first recruit. It’s a Georgia-based non-profit that provides companion animals for active service members, veterans, and first responders who are recovering from psychological challenges. And the very first dog that fitted the bill for the Berkeley County EMS was a black labrador named Scarlett.
Scarlett, though just a year old, already completed a total of 240 hours of rigorous training to become a therapy dog. She was trained to provide mental health support to EMS dispatchers, first responders, as well as hospital workers who need to deal with emotional stress. And just a few weeks after Scarlett joined the team, there already has been a big improvement.
Everyone felt that she really helped them reset after traumatic events. Even just her mere presence, sitting with the people, help them calm down and relax.
The morale of the team definitely boosted up thanks to Scarlett and from time to time, other departments would also ask to borrow her. That was why Anderson and Scarlett built up this routine of checking in on each department, making sure that everyone was doing well. She has definitely helped make the county’s heroes stay safe and healthy.
Source: Daily Paws