A Wilmington fire station adds special new member to team

Wilmington, NC (WWAY)–  Wilmington Fire Department Station 2 Empire Park  introduced its newest crisis dog, “Heart” on Saturday afternoon.  

Heart is the second dog the department is deploying in to offer firefighters a way to de-stress post-call, ease tensions at the station, lower anxiety, and even improve heart health. They will also be used on emergency scenes to help provide calm for those affected by trauma.  

Heart received a vest to make her addition to the team official.  

Kyria Whisenhunt, Paws 4 People Executive Director, the company who got Heart to the station, tells us why Heart will be beneficial to the fire staff. 

“The biggest impact that we’ve seen is that the first responders themselves that are on shift with the facility dogs are able to experience a lot of decompression, immediate release of stress.”  

Joshua Baltz, Firefighter, tells us the first-hand impact he sees with his team thanks to dogs like Heart.  

“These dogs are trained to kind of distract you from the stress that you’re facing and kind of bring you back to more of a reality state of situation.”  

Olivia, Heart’s Owner, says she is so glad her dog that she has had for most of her life gets to take on a role as special as this one. 

“I think she’s really happy. She really loves her new job. Don’t you, Heart?”  

This was also an open house event which allowed families to bring their kids to come and see the trucks and other equipment at the station, as well as get oriented with their local first responders. 

Categories: Local, New Hanover, What’s Happening