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Therapy dog program helps EMS personnel through tough times

Posted at 6:06 AM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 07:39:06-04

WACO, TX — The AMR Therapy Dog Team is here to help police, fire fighters and emergency services personnel get through tough times they encounter while on the job.

AMR saw the need in a support system after many in this career see a lot as they save our lives in crisis. Bodhi, the 2-year-old golden doodle, is one of two registered dogs in Texas and one of three registered in the nation.

This program is only two years old and 11 more puppies are currently in training. Training begins at 12-weeks-old, and once they pass all necessary training, by 1-year-old they travel around to disaster sites and work environments bringing smiles and comfort to those in need.

While looking for a breed that AMR representatives thought would fit, they choose poodle-mixes due to their kind personality and because they are hypoallergenic.

"The dogs go to events, after an event they'll go if there is a debriefing with police, fire and EMS they'll go to those debriefings kinda help calm the crews," said Robert Saunders, Regional Director with AMR.

In his two years of service, Bodhi has been a great service dog. Knowing when the vest is on it's time to work, but the second the vest comes off he knows it's OK to play.

AMR representatives made sure he would be OK to adapt to any situation. Before he was fully certified, they brought him to schools, hospitals and near ambulances. Seeing how well he did around the multiple kids, and flashing lights and sounds they knew Bodhi would be a great fit to the team.

Bodhi usually comes by request after someone has encountered a tough situation. He'll visit the crew in need for how long they need him. Sometimes even visiting operations and events without request, but no matter the case, everyone loves seeing Bodhi around.

"Lots of really good comments and he's really helped some people also," Saunders said.

AMR has big plans for the future to continue growing this program.

"We're probably going to get 20-25 dogs throughout the country," Saunders said. " Anytime there is a need for the dogs we want to make sure we can get there. With two or three dogs right now that's difficult to do and we want to make sure we can get to any event we need to."

If you would like to follow Bodhi on his journey and see the rest of the AMR dog team, visit their Facebook page.