Country’s first fire service wellbeing dog

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has become the first in the country to take on a Fire Service Wellbeing and Trauma Support Dog. The appointment has been made by the service for the purpose of supporting the mental wellbeing of its staff.

The Oscar Kilo 9 accredited Cocker Spaniel is called Olive, and she is three years old. Olive was appointed by the Fire and Rescue Service around the same time as World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2021. The Cocker Spaniel did not have an easy start to life. She was seized by Northamptonshire Police after being found at an illegal puppy farm.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service already offers a number of different services to support its colleagues, and now, its new well-being dog can be included in that support. Any colleagues struggling with their mood or suffering after a challenging incident that has affected them, or even those suffering from trauma or stress, can spend time with Olive. It is known that dogs can help to increase oxytocin and serotonin levels in people and can help with lowering blood pressure.

A number of police forces across the country have already taken on wellbeing dogs, but Olive is the Fire Service’s first across the nation. It is hoped that Olive will help to create an environment that feels calm and relaxed, in which people feel they can talk openly.

Some of the incidents that Fire Service crew attend can be very distressing, so talking about mental health and the impact these incidents have is very important.