(MEMPHIS FIRE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE) – This week Memphis Fire Department welcomed its newest member to the force, Wilson the Therapy Dog.
Wilson is a one-year-old Golden Doodle who has been trained in basic obedience and therapy work. Wilson’s job is to help the fire department members cope with the stress of their everyday work.
Memphis Fire Department prides itself on being innovative in bringing new ideas to the workplace. By “hiring” Wilson, MFD is one of a few fire departments in the nation that has added a therapy dog to their staff. Firefighters routinely face death, destruction, and seeing humanity at its worst. Add in sleep deprivation, long shifts, and personal issues and it is no wonder that firefighters have a 5% higher rate of PTSD and depression than the average person.
As these numbers have come to light, the department is working to implement ways to assist its members with their mental health. Since it has been proven that a dog can help to reduce a person’s blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety, fatigue, and stress, the department decided to implement a therapy dog program.
Wilson was gifted to the department by the Assisi Foundation of Memphis, trained by Sit-Means-Sit, and certified through K-9 Caring Angels both of Manassas, Virginia.