K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of trained service dogs to military veterans, recently announced the donation of two therapy dogs, Gunner and Cash, to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department through its Station Dog program.
As part of its mission, K9s For Warriors partners with law enforcement and first responder agencies to provide reliable, high-quality K9s that provide emotional support to law enforcement officers, firefighters, dispatchers, victims and others who are repeatedly exposed to traumatic events in the line of duty.
Both black labs, Gunner and Cash, are American Kennel Club-recognized therapy dogs. They become the 15th and 16th dogs to be adopted through K9s For Warriors’ Station Dog Program, respectively.
Station dogs ease emotional stress common in this line of public service. Station dogs are made up of retired service dogs or dogs that have received extensive training from professional trainers but were not quite cut out to be service dogs.
These dogs are not diverted from any military veterans in the K9s For Warriors program, and the departments receiving these station dogs are receiving them at no cost. The K9s For Warriors Station Dog Program is an American Kennel Club-recognized therapy dog program.
“First responders are regularly exposed to traumatic events and stressors that have a similar impact to what we see our veterans experience on a daily basis,” said Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors. “Our Station Dog Program’s main goal is to help mitigate stress and elevate emotional wellbeing through the level of companionship these dogs provide. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have station dogs Gunner and Cash working alongside members of JFRD’s peer support team to do just that for our local heroes.”
JFRD’s peer support team provides first responders with resources that help them better process the trauma and stressors they experience on the job. Gunner joins station no. 52 on 6130 Collins Road, and Cash joins station no. 71 at 325 2nd Ave. S. where they will be involved in their station’s peer support team.
“When our firefighters have been to a bad scene or are struggling with stress related to their job, Gunner and Cash provide comfort and companionship,” said JFRD Fire Chief Keith Powers. “They have the ability to sense distress, go up to those folks, help them relax and overcome that stress. They’re a very important part of our department.”
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