Jul 27, 2023
Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch welcomes emotional support dog
MARSHALL — The Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority has added a new, four-legged member to its ranks. Hope, a 1-year-old Goldendoodle, has joined the team as an emotional support animal,
MARSHALL — The Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority has added a new, four-legged member to its ranks.
Hope, a 1-year-old Goldendoodle, has joined the team as an emotional support animal, with help of the organization Canines for Change. She is nearly complete in her certification process to be a facility dog and will help foster a calm environment for staff members.
“911 telecommunicators regularly answer emergency calls that are stressful and traumatic. It is also their responsibility to make sure the right resources are sent, and pre-arrival instructions are given to the caller," CCCDA Executive Director Michael Armitage said in a release. "There is evidence in other 911 centers that having a facility dog assists with this emotional stress by creating a calm and welcoming environment for our staff.”
Before coming to CCCDA, Hope was trained in advanced obedience as well as socialized with many types of people. She can offer comfort and friendship, while reducing stress and anxiety. Hope has a designated handler, dispatch supervisor Abbey Kidder, who supports her needs beyond providing support in dispatch.
Canines For Change trains and facilitates dogs joining organizations where they can offer support for employees or clients, such as in hospitals, nursing homes or schools. Increasingly, these working dogs are being utilized in dispatch centers to provide a calming outlet for telecommunicators who work in high-stress situations.
This opportunity was made possible in part through a grant from Bronson Battle Creek Hospital Community Partners, which awarded CCCDA funds for half the cost of the canine, as well as the first year of care. This grant was applied for with assistance from the Battle Creek Community Foundation.
Hope will take a test to certify as a facility dog in the coming weeks, which means completing various tasks with minimal intervention. Commands she is trained in include sit, stay, down, heel, cuddle and leave it.
Hope trains weekly in a structured setting through Canines For Change, as well as daily with her CCCDA handler. Once certified, her harness will be upgraded from identifying that she’s in training to displaying the CCCDA logo.
Contact reporter Greyson Steele at [email protected]