Wilmington Fire Department adds second Crisis Response dog named Heart

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(Photo: Wilmington Fire Department)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A furry new addition was recently welcomed to the Wilmington Fire Department.

The Department was already utilizing a Crisis Response Facility Dog named Rhys at WFD Station 8, and has added a second dog to the team as part of a partnership with paws4people foundation.

Their new dog, Heart, and her handler, Firefighter Blake Reynolds, will report to work at Station 2 on A Shift.

Like Rhys, Heart will work at the fire station on her shift and go home with her firefighter handler when they are off duty.

Rhys and Heart are part of a larger Mental Health and Wellness program the department is pushing. The goal of the program is to aid in de-escalation of stress post-call, ease tension at the station, lower anxiety, reduce long-term effects of PTSD, and improve cardiovascular health.

In addition, the Facility Dogs provide comfort in emergency situations, both at the department and at the scene of an emergency in the community to ease the distress of anyone affected by the trauma.

Heart will be presented with her official Crisis Response Facility Dog vest during the department’s Back-to-School Open House event on Saturday, August 27th, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Station 2 at Empie Park.

The department will have free hotdogs, giveaways, games, firetruck tours, and more.

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