Dogs Helping Firefighters

I attended ‪#‎FDIC2016‬ in April and noticed tons of service dogs walking around.  After one went past our booth, one of my neighbors leaned over and told me how happy he was that the dog didn’t jump on him.  “Of course, he won’t jump on you,” I told him, “it is a service dog!”  He quickly informed me that these were a specifically trained dogs – ones that detect cancer.  If you had any cancer within your system, the dog was taught to jump up onto you.

The Sniffing Out Cancer: A Documentary people brought their dogs to FDIC in order to support the work they are doing with theInternational Firefighter Cancer Foundation, Inc. and the Merlin’s Kids / United K9 Professionals!!!!

Wellington & I became quickly acquainted at FDIC.

In addition, Janice Wolfe, founder and CEO of Master of Natural Canine Behavior Rehabilitation, was there. Her sister non-profit organization, Merlin’s Kids, was one of the first to train dogs for disease detection in firefighters and first responders.  Considering the cancer rates with first responders continue to rise at an alarming rate, it was nice to see some attention being given this topic at the largest fire and emergency services conference! Merlin’s Kids’ organization  partnered with the International Firefighter Cancer Foundation to assist with early cancer screening and more can be learned about that here: Disease Detection Dogs (D3).

This news report on these amazing dogs is absolutely mind-blowing because they can detect cancer in the early stages and also assist people through their treatments as therapy.  The training for these dogs is quite extensive. What I found most interesting was that many of the dogs trained were rescued.  Wellington was a rescued dog and I found this out when I asked about his uncommon name.  I assumed he was named for the Wellington rainboots, but it seems his previous owners named him for a city in New Zealand.

Wellington decided I could rub his belly non-stop while he took a break.

I would like to see more of these dogs at the conferences and even for local fire departments to take advantage of them. Leesburg, Virginia, recently had some of Wellington’s coworkers join them for an early detection demonstration: Foundation Urges FF to Reduce Exposure. These dogs can save so many with early detection.

NOTE: I did see where you can sponsor a dog on the D3 website, too.
I look forward to seeing Wellington and his colleagues again next year at FDIC. I’m sure he will have me pick right back up with the belly scratching.

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