Sacramento firefighters take the pressure off with the department’s first support pup – CBS Sacramento


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – You’ll have to wait in line to meet the newest member of the Sacramento Fire Department. There’s a lot of hype surrounding the latest hire. Emily is a Lab-Terrier mix who takes her job seriously.

“It was a lot of work. When Emily came to our house she was a bit of a wild child. And yet now she’s down and calm and really able to ring that for the firefighters,” the trainer said. Cherie Flores dogs with Paws for Life.

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Emily is the department’s first support dog. She lives and works with Deputy Chief Mike Taylor.

“If your car is broken, you will get it repaired. If your emotions or your spirit are broken, you have to go fix it. And that dog is kind of the way to the mechanic,” Taylor said.

“I didn’t know it was normal to feel sad. I just thought at the time you didn’t care,” captain Rich Alamo said.

It took Alamo years to deal with the trauma and stress of being a firefighter.

“We come to help you. We are not the ones who need help,” Alamo said.

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But the support he needed didn’t come from a human.

“Without my little dog, Macho, he was a little 25-pound Pomeranian. He helped me out a lot,” Alamo said.

It’s proof that a puppy can heal the darkest pain. That’s why Emily is just the beginning. First Responders Defenders with Warfighter Overwatch have pledged to pay the costs for more support dogs.

“Any cost the dog incurs in the future, we’ll take care of to make sure he’s there for as many dogs and stations as we can facilitate,” council chairman Danny O’Neel said.

Firefighters like Alamo, now part of the department’s first behavioral health unit, are getting special support just in time for the high stress of wildfire season.

“We want to get in there, reduce stress, have these conversations and Emily is going to help us get through the door,” Alamo said.

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Alamo will handle the next support dog, named Ember. The department is expecting a total of three more dogs that will visit all fire stations.


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