Sign In

Dog Program

July 31, 2020

To help cover unexpected costs, Hanford Fire Department firefighter Matt Martinez has started selling challenge coins as a fundraiser for the department’s new dog program.

This summer, HFD partnered with Visalia-based California Service Dog Academy, to train puppies to help firefighters in the department deal with stress and their mental health.

The academy donated two puppies, named Asher and Tiller, to the department as a way to not only alleviate the mental stress of the firefighters, but to also to bring joy to the community.

Martinez, Asher’s handler, said when he and firefighter Connor Kurtz, Tiller’s handler, came up with the idea for the program they decided to fund it through fundraisers in order to keep the financial burden away from the department and the city.

Martinez said California Service Dog Academy has been great with helping with the dogs’ needs, but he thought it would be good to have some extra funds for things that may pop up, like vet bills or other care the puppies may need.

That’s where the idea for the challenge coins came in.

Martinez designed the coins with a paw and the HFD logo on one side and a drawing of Asher on the other side.

He ordered 100 coins and in less than 24 hours has already sold more than half of them to people as far away as Boston and New York.

For anyone wishing to purchase the $20 coin, Martinez said you can message him on social media through the HFD Facebook page or Asher’s Instagram page at hfd_k9_asher and he will mail the coin. He said payments can be made through PayPal or Cash App and the money will go directly into an account for the dogs.

Martinez will also leave some coins at HFD Fire Station 1, located at 350 W. Grangeville Blvd., for those who would like to pick them up directly.

Asher and Tiller have been at their respective fire stations with their handlers for about seven weeks now and Martinez said they are doing well and acclimating to the stations. He said they are also very sweet and great with the public.

“Both of these dogs are just awesome dogs,” Martinez said. They’re super smart and they’re learning very fast.”

Fortunately, Martinez said there hasn’t been a serious incident at the department that has taken a toll on firefighters’ mental health and need for the puppies’ services. Nonetheless, he said the other firefighters in the department have welcomed the puppies and he’s noticed the benefits of the program.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Big Dogs Need Owners

    When the shutdown orders took full effect, it became nearly impossible to find a small dog available for adoption as Southlanders sought furry companions. In many Southland shelters, only larger breeds remained available for adoption. Now Los Angeles Animal Service is touting the joys of big dogs while offering discounted adoption fees for larger breeds […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Walkathon

    On Saturday, October 3, hundreds of walkers from across 15 states joined the path to bettering the world for children with autism and their families as part of BluePath Service Dogs’ fourth annual walkathon. The family-friendly fundraiser – this year held virtually – raised more than $120,000 to further BluePath’s mission of providing autism service […]

    Read more

    Service Dog In The Marching Band

    In a year that is anything but normal, the Jones College Maroon Typhoon Marching Band has welcomed its first known service dog member this fall. Laurie, a 3-year-old golden retriever, is baritone saxophone player Sara-Beth McKellar’s service dog. The Vicksburg native was diagnosed with epilepsy as a sophomore in high school after her first seizure. […]

    Read more

    Church Blesses Animals

    St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Port Jervis hosted a special outdoor service last Sunday afternoon to bless the community’s pets, animals and other living creatures. In keeping with current pandemic rules, pet owners wore masks, remained distant, and took part in praying for dogs, cats, turtles, and other pets and animals around […]

    Read more

    Police Welcome New Canine

    After the unexpected passing of longtime Police Service Dog Zeus earlier this week, Kingston Police are welcoming a new member to the Canine Unit. Police Service Dog Bask, also known as K9-8, is a Dutch Shepherd and Belgium Malinois mix, and will be patrolling the streets of Kingston with his handler Constable Jeff Dickson. Bask […]

    Read more

    Dog Park For Travelers

    St. Petersburg is widely recognized as a dog-friendly city, and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is making sure its four-legged visitors and their humans feel welcome by rolling out the artificial turf carpet. With the completion of the airport’s parking and roadway project – part of a series of multi-million dollar improvements at the airport over the […]

    Read more