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 using a crisis-response dog named Rhys at WFD Station 8 and added a second dog to the team as part of a partnership with the paws4people foundation.

Their new dog, Heart, and his handler, firefighter Blake Reynolds, will show up at Station 2 on A Shift.

Like Rhys, Heart will work at the fire station during her shift and return home with her fire chief 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 help de-escalate post-call stress, ease on-the-job tension, reduce anxiety, reduce the long-term effects of PTSD, and improve cardiovascular health.

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

Heart will receive his official Crisis Response Facility Dog Vest at the department’s Back-to-School Open House on Saturday, August 27, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Empie Park Station 2.

The department will be offering free hot dogs, giveaways, games, fire truck tours, and more.