GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A new therapy dog program is sending out 30 Labradoodles to cities across the country to provide animal-assisted therapy to first responders. One of those dogs will be permanently stationed in Grand Rapids.
"We've actually been talking for a while, you know, about having a dog here at the department, and what other tools can we utilize to really help our employees,” Sgt Dan Adams, of the Grand Rapids Police Department, said Thursday.
A female Labradoodle named Hope will be stationed permanently at an AMR (American Medical Response) location in Grand Rapids.
“She's just shy of a year-and-a-half old now," said Dusty Vandermeer, an operations supervisor with AMR, and the guy who will be working with Hope directly.
"I don't think she has a mean bone in her body.”
She comes to work with Vandermeer every day and stays at AMR through the night. She has recently received her therapy dog certification.
“There's a lot of different opportunities... after critical incidents, man-made disasters, natural disasters," Sgt Adams said Thursday.
"We'll quite often hold debriefs, so that people can share their experiences... vent their feelings, you know, talk about, really process what's been going on.”
Both organizations are excited for what Hope will bring to first responders throughout West Michigan.
Sgt Adams saying, “it would be great to hope we never have to see her in action, but unfortunately... I'm sure that time will come and we'll definitely be reaching out to FirstNet and AMR for that.”