Florida Paramedic Group Hires Therapy Dogs for First Responders

Florida Paramedic Group Hires Therapy Dogs for First Responders

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Florida’s Collier County paramedic team is joining forces to introduce therapy dogs into the lives of first responders, offering a helping paw to tackle the challenges of their demanding roles. The frontline of medical emergencies is no easy place, often carrying a heavy burden of stress and pressure. Recognizing the power of therapy dogs in alleviating this stress, different organizations have extended their benefits to various groups, including military personnel.

Collier County EMS took the initiative to provide their paramedics with a tool to manage stress and reached out to Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs, Inc., a group known for training assistance and service dogs. In a serendipitous alignment of needs, Golden PAWS and Collier County’s paramedic team found each other. Deputy chief Noemi Garcia shared, “One of our paramedics started researching therapy dogs for himself and also saw a need…to have therapy dogs for Collier County EMS.

“This initiative has now placed two adorable Golden Retrievers, Zelda, and Leo, on the front of stress relief. Collier EMS Chief Tabatha Butcher underlined the importance of addressing the elevated stress levels faced by first responders and expressed excitement about the partnership’s impact. Any time we have an incident where a first responder just needs to have counseling, have some stress relief, then we will take the dogs out to visit them at the stations,”

Butcher said, highlighting the heartwarming integration of the dogs into the paramedic team’s daily lives.

The enthusiasm shared by Butcher and Garcia is mirrored by Zelda and Leo’s unwavering excitement to fulfill their roles. As soon as these therapy dogs don their vests, they know it’s time to provide a comforting presence. The dream of having a full-time therapy dog alongside the team is in the works, but for now, the furry duo is making a remarkable difference. With every wag of their tails and nuzzle of their noses, Zelda and Leo bring a sense of joy, relaxation, and relief to the hardworking paramedics, reminding everyone that a little furry companionship goes a long way.

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