Sign In

Therapy Dog

April 6, 2020

One dog is training to help first responders in Kentucky.

A Global Medical Response (GMR) Solution Program started in the American Medical Response (AMR) Amarillo location in June 2016 as a pilot program with two therapy dogs.

However, after the 2017 Route 91 Music Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas, the team began adding additional dogs.

“It was a solution to find ways that we can support our employees through emotional support through something different,” explained Bert Absher, director of operations.

The team is composed of all standard-size hypoallergenic breeds like Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, and even a Sheepadoodle.

Now, a new dog named Jojo is a member of the team in Kentucky.

She is 22-weeks old and the newest addition to the global medical response team.

Absher told WYMT she will serve more than 1,000 employees.

Officials said some forget about first responders when talking about PTSD.

“It’s very hard to be unhappy around a dog of this type,” said Absher. “EMS is a high-stress job. We are finally recognizing that many of our folks have some form of PTSD.”

Absher said Jojo will serve any agency, anywhere.

“Not just LifeGuard or AMR, we’ll service all of our first responders in Eastern Kentucky or where they need us to go. When we deploy, it may not be to an AMR operation. It may be somewhere that they have experienced a tragic event,” explained Absher.

Monday was her first day on the job.

She lives with Absher and his wife. As he works every day, she stays by his side.

One of her favorite tricks is a hug. Absher said she loves to be picked up so she can wrap her paws around your neck.

Jojo is therapy support dog number 23 across the nation and the first in Kentucky for GMR.

She is currently enrolled in a training academy in Lexington. After she completes this stage, she will begin to train with Canine Good Citizen (CGC).

Absher said they hope to have her ready for duty within 12 to 14 months.

Once her training is finished, she will be able to sense high-stress situations and high-anxiety among other skills.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Therapy Dogs Helping Staff

    Dogs in the classroom are more than welcome in Alta-Aurelia schools, especially now in the age of COVID. Just a short time into the school year, students and staff already consider the four therapy dogs in school as family members and know them by name – Milo and Liberty in Aurelia, and Skye and Goldie […]

    Read more

    Molly The Therapy Dog

    At Kempsey East Public School there’s a four-legged friend helping to support students throughout their school day. Molly the therapy dog can be found walking the school grounds during play and class time with her owner, principal Penny Chow. “In our personal best room, Molly enjoys relaxing, chewing her toys, listening to a story and […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Program

    The St. Joseph School District received on Tuesday a grant to support a therapy dog program for local students. The local Rotary International district, which is composed of three clubs, presented the grant valued at just under $2,500 to support the Behavior Animals Rescuing Kids (BARK) program focused at Coleman Elementary and Mark Twain School. […]

    Read more

    Pet Therapy

    For millions around the world, life during this pandemic has become the “emotional strain of the century.” Regardless of how we discern our level of stamina, mental fortitude or faith, the demonstrative toll these past months have truly exposed everyone’s frailty — at least once. Having a pet in your home brings a certain level […]

    Read more

    Chaise Gets A Service Dog

    An “outpouring of love from our community” has resulted in a Shelocta family’s success in quickly raising $18,000 for a trained autism support dog for their son. The story of the Clouser family — parents Ashley and Justin and sons Chaise, 6, and Conner, who turns 2 in October — was featured in the Sept. […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs In Schools

    Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Central School District has two new staff members to support students throughout the school year: Bernie and Gemma, certified therapy dogs. Bernie is a 9-month-old Bernedoodle and Gemma is a 5-month-old Ausidoodle, both of whom will support APW students with social and emotional learning needs. Certified through the AKC Kennel Club, the hope is […]

    Read more