Based on studies, one out of every five firefighters has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With the work they do, it is almost inevitable for firefighters to experience the debilitating effects of PTSD. Due to this phenomenon, the Charlotte Fire Department (CFD) seeks to improve the mental state of their firefighters through a dog’s help. She may be the nation’s first Fire Department Therapy Dog.
CFD welcomed Lady Catherine in May 2020 to help the heroes of the fire department in battling their issues. CFD acknowledges that the mental health of their firefighters is equally important as the work they do. As such, Lady Catherine was hired to console anyone on the team who might feel anxious or stressed.
In her first year of service, Lady Catherine managed to visit all 42 stations under CFD. With her initial interaction with the firefighters, the dog provided a mental health break for the firefighters.
Before Lady Catherine arrived at CFD, she had her training under the mentorship of Rick Dunton. According to Rick, Lady Catherine’s nose can detect when a person is stressed. The dog can smell stress hormones on humans, making her aware that her firefighter friends need her help. She has the ideal qualities for a Fire Department Therapy Dog.
How Does The Fire Department Therapy Dog Help ?
Lady Catherine’s talent is limited to detecting stress hormones by smell. She is not able to determine whether the stress is related to problems at home or work. Lucky for the fire fighters, her ability to help remove the stress is not minimized by this lack of knowledge.
Rick mentioned that each time Lady Catherine detects stress, the dog would go over to that person and lean into them. Through this action, Lady Catherine allows her body to help take the stress away. In effect, this gesture gives the firefighters a chance to release some of the stress that often consumes them. If not addressed, stress can overcome what them and make their lives miserable.
Besides helping her firefighter friends overcome their mental health problems, Lady Catherine also does other things. When she is not busy providing the firefighters stress relief, Lady Catherine helps with fire safety education among kids.
Here is another story I think you will enjoy. It is about dogs detecting medical conditions. https://happymutt.org/medical-conditions-that-dogs-can-detect/
Credits to FOX 46 Charlotte.