Ottawa Humane Society launches program for dogs to visit fire stations

Some Ottawa firefighters will receive a visit from a dog this winter, as part of a new program to support the mental health and wellbeing of first responders in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Humane Society has teamed up with the Ottawa Fire Service to visit fire stations regularly over the coming months with specially assessed and selected dogs.

“The mental health benefits of spending time with animals are very clear,” Ottawa Humane Society president and CEO Sharon Miko said in a statement.

“Interacting with animals can reduce a person’s stress, increase their happiness, lower their blood pressure and can help them relax after a stressful event.”

This week, Mowgli, a five-year-old border collie, dropped by Station 12 on O’Connor Street to visit firefighters.

The dogs participating in the program are not dogs in the care of the Ottawa Humane society, according to Miko. They are volunteer dogs participating with their owners.

Miko says the Ottawa Humane Society hopes to expand the program and arrange visits to support firefighters who have recently experienced a traumatic event.

“Our first visit was a great success, the firefighters of Station 12 were thrilled to visit with Mowgli,” Miko said.

“This is just the very beginning of the program. We’ve got big plans to bring the therapeutic companionship of dogs to more of Ottawa’s first responders in the future.”

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