“People don’t realize what a 911 operator goes through when they receive the types of calls they get in the center,” Reavis said. “It is not uncommon to hear someone take their last breath while you are doing everything you can to get help to them, and that takes a toll on people.
“What we are trying to accomplish with the therapy dogs is to temporarily relieve some of that stress,” Reavis said. “The dog’s job is to provide the benefits of happiness in an otherwise stressful job.”
On any given day Reavis’ Sheepadoodle “Hero” can be requested by those working in the 911 center, but there are certain occasions where Hero is brought in without being requested. “Any time there is a major incident that the staff has handled, especially if there is a critical incident debriefing, the dogs are part of that,” Reavis said.
The other dog currently utilized by the county is a pit bull named “Lily.” While Hero is still considered in training to become certified, Lily has already passed all of the requirements. The Alliance of Therapy Dogs, or ATD, requires that a dog be one year of age to be fully certified. Hero is currently a couple of months shy of that.