Pets have an incredible ability to lift people’s spirits no matter what else is going on. That’s just one of the many reasons animals have become an important part of maintaining our mental health and sense of well-being.
As thousands of firefighters continue to battle the raging Woodward Fire in California’s Marin County, there’s one thing that never fails to cheer them up after a long, hot day on the job.
Meet Kerith, a 2-year-old golden retriever who is a certified crisis response therapy dog! The precious pup was originally meant to be a guide dog, but after she completed her training, they determined she didn’t have the right personality for the job. She was simply too friendly for the serious nature of the work.
Luckily, those same qualities make her an ideal therapy animal! According to Heidi Carmen, her human mom, she knew Kerith had a future in helping others as soon as she adopted her.
“Kerith is a very special dog with endless love and affection to share with all who meet her,” Heidi said. “Her favorite people are firefighters.”
After Kerith earned her comfort dog certification, Heidi started bringing her to local hospitals to cheer up patients, paramedics, and staff members alike.
It didn’t take long for Heidi to notice that Kerith became extra excited whenever they visited a fire department. Naturally, the firefighters were also particularly fond of her, as their time together provided them with joy on stressful days.
As the Woodward Fire continues to destroy thousands of acres, Kerith is buoying everyone’s spirits by showing up every day for their morning briefing!
Her mom makes sure these hardworking people know Kerith is always thinking of them, even when they can’t be together. She even hands every crew member a card with the pup’s picture on it so they can take her with them as they fight the devastating flames.
“She makes people feel loved, special, and important,” Heidi said. “One firefighter told me, ‘Kerith has the uncanny ability to make me feel like I am the most important person in the world.'”
Dogs really are the best, aren’t they? Kerith and Heidi are providing an invaluable service to these heroes who are protecting lives in California. We’re sending a virtual hug to all of them via this sweet golden retriever!
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