Sign In

Therapy dog joins ranks

March 31, 2020

Unlike her colleagues at American Medical Response’s local headquarters in Woodway, Liberty has to make sure her favorite toys are in tow when she heads to work each morning.

The 15-month-old goldendoodle officially joined the local emergency medical services provider last month as a certified therapy dog.

“She is very calm, very caring and if you are sitting back in your chair she would get up in your lap,” AMR operations supervisor Joby Berkley said. “She is great therapy for the boss, because when you are having a bad day, you can just sit back and talk to the dog.” The fluffy new addition to the team is meant to provide a measure of stress relief for first responders. “She’s been here since she was 6 months old, coming every day as that is a part of their training, exposing them to everything that goes on here every day and beginning to learn the emotions and feels of people that work here. … As a certified therapy dog, she is able to recognize when people need support, therapy and even cuddles after a hard or emotional day,” AMR operations manager Heather Schmidt said. Liberty, a 78-pound cross between a golden retriever and a poodle, is one 10 certified dogs, all crossbreed dogs, working with AMR first responders through AMR parent company Global Medical Response. Fourteen more dogs are in training, Schmidt said.

“Most of them are godlendoodles. We have some labradoodles and we have one sheepadoodle,” Schmidt said. “They are all a hypoallergenic breed to reduce people who are allergic to dogs.”

Liberty walked around AMR’s local headquarters this week, sporting her therapy dog vest and visiting crews coming in and out of the office.

Although she has been known to steal food from crews on break, having a therapy dog is a great option for first responders often faced with demanding duties during 12-hour shifts, Berkley said.

“I have said a few things to the dog, I’m not going to lie,” Berkley said with a laugh. “When the crew is on a tough call, a prolonged call or a call involving a pediatric (patient), we’ve had people request the dog so it’s been a real positive sign that it is helping.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Izzy The Therapy Dog

    There is something different strolling the halls of schools in Moody this year and she’s soft, gentle and loves kids. Her name is Izzy and she is a two-year-old Goldendoodle, turned therapy dog. Her owner, Sgt. Ron Richardson, with the Moody Police Department, saw a video of a therapy dog being used in Cullman County […]

    Read more

    Animal Advocate

    Penny, a spaniel mix who works as a canine advocate for domestic violence victims through Crisis Center North, is nearing retirement. She was adopted from Action for Animals in Derry Township and attends court dates with victims to provide emotional support. But before she retires, she has one more job. She needs to train an […]

    Read more

    Dog Chow Campaign

    In honor of National Service Dog Awareness Month, Purina Dog Chow is launching its third annual “Service Dog Salute” campaign. A service dog can be life-changing in helping veterans with PTSD and other post-combat challenges. Unfortunately, due to the cost and time it takes to train a service dog, less than 1% of veterans in […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog In School

    A Derry primary school this week welcomed a new member of staff – its very own therapy dog. Joy will be used to provide comfort and reassurance to pupils at St Oliver Plunkett Primary School after studies have shown that therapy dogs have a positive impact on children’s mood and behaviour. St Oliver Plunkett is […]

    Read more

    Polices Therapy Dog

    The Great Barrington police department is holding a swearing in ceremony Friday for its new therapy dog, Officer Beko. Beko is a 16-week old black lab and works with Officer Kris Balestro. Beko’s training, certification and care are funded by donations from the local community. Officer Beko is the first therapy dog to join a […]

    Read more

    BarkBox Launching Essentials

    If your dog loves to monitor your work when you’re cooking, generally gets underfoot the entire time and sees “taste tester” as their official title, these new dog toys may be essential in your kitchen. Starting Oct. 1, Bed, Bath & Beyond is introducing a new line, specifically tailored to your dog’s kitchen needs. In […]

    Read more