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

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more