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South Metro Fire introduced their newest team member last month, and it’s a three-month-old Golden Retriever that will be trained to become an emotional support dog!
South Metro Fire introduced him on their Facebook page on November 23 and wrote, “We are excited to introduce the newest member of the department – Hal, short for Halligan. Hal arrived this week and has already been a big hit with everyone who has met him.”
Hal is a three-month-old Golden Retriever. He was donated to the South Metro Fire through the Soldier 6‘s program, a non-profit organization that provides service dogs to officers and soldiers.
Hal will be trained to be an emotional support dog and help South Metro Fire’s firefighters “deal with the cumulative stress of the job”. And he will spend the next year getting certified as a service dog.
And Hal is already making a huge impact in the team! South Metro Fire’s Assistant Fire Chief and Hal’s handler, Terry Johnson, tells West St. Paul Reader, “There’s been a handful of firefighters already that are keyed in and loving on the dog. They come in right away and they’ll sit in a chair and just pet Hal for 10 minutes and hang out, throw the ball.”
“If it helps one firefighter, I think it’s worth it,” Johnson says.
Just a couple of weeks ago, South Metro’s firefighters were called on the scene of a fatal shooting and a deadly house fire.
And when the crew returned to the station, Hal was waiting for them, ready to do his job as an emotional support dog.
Johnson revealed, “He [Hal] did his work, they were able to decompress.”
According to KSTP, Hal and Terry’s training in order to get certified has already begun. And Soldier 6 takes care of Hal’s special training and covers all of the pooch’s vet bills.
South Metro Fire also revealed that Hal’s brother, Riley, was donated to the South St. Paul Fire Department, and the brothers are spending training time together.