From campuses to hospitals, and lately police stations, more and more organizations are embracing the therapeutic value dogs offer merely with their presence and unconditional affection and attention. And now, these programs are getting the recognition they deserve. Last month, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody presented K9s For Warriors’ Station Dogs program with the Back the Blue Award at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. The honor was established to acknowledge officers, citizens and organizations that have taken extraordinary steps to foster relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve, according to News 4 in Jacksonville.
“I am so thankful for the work being done by K9s For Warriors to help connect law enforcement heroes with K9s to help them heal and cope with some of the invisible wounds inflicted while protecting Floridians. I look forward to watching the Station Dog program grow and help even more members of our law enforcement community,” Moody stated at the ceremony.
Since 2011, K9s For Warriors has placed more than 1,300 rescue dogs with approximately 700 veterans who suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries and military sexual trauma. Station Dogs takes trained pups that have previously been placed with veterans and can now help de-stress cops and firefighters.
Buster, a yellow Lab presented to the JSO at the award ceremony, was the eighth station dog the program had donated to first responder agencies.
“While dogs and their special bond with humans are not new to any of us, bringing them into the workplace to help employees is a positive and exciting new approach,” Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams told reporters. “The officers are the most important resource you have in an agency, and healthy officers are essential for a thriving community.”
Another Station Dogs star, C4, is a duty veteran at the Atlantic Beach Police Department.
“She knows when you’re having a bad day, when I’m in my office and I’m having a stressful day. She comes in just to say hello. For no other reason just to pet her and lick my face, and then she’s off to somebody else,” Police Chief Victor Gualillo stated to Action News Jax.