Meet the therapy dog keeping stress at bay in Fairfax County

Firefighting is one of the most stressful jobs on the planet.

FAIRFAX, CO., VA. (WUSA9) -

He is not like the firefighters. For one, he has four legs. For two, he's an 11-month-old Goldendoodle and a certified therapy dog.

His name is Wally, and he is the only full-time certified therapy dog to live full-time in a firehouse in the country. Specifically, Wally lives Fairview Fire Station 32.

Battalion Chief Willie Bailey says it was essential to have every firefighter on board with Wally.

"All I know is every time I walk in this station, every firefighter is playing with this canine, and they're smiling and laughing and joking," Bailey said. "And if that's what it does to these firefighters when they come off calls, it's worth it."

In fact, it could be said that Wally may be saving lives just as his brothers and sisters at Fairview Fire Station 32 do every day.

Captain William "Buck" Best is a Behavioral Health Uniformed Officer. He says, "The presence of a therapy dog reduces stress, reduces depression, and lowers blood pressure."

An organization called Caring Angels donated Wally to the firehouse. Wally's food and health insurance are donated too. Captain Best says he costs the taxpayers zero dollars.

If you're wondering how Wally gets fed and taken out for walks, he has two handlers per shift.

On this day, Battalion Chief Fred Brabdell was one of his handlers. "He's pretty laid back for an 11- month-old dog," Brabdell said. "He listens very very well, he loves to go outside, he loves to see squirrels, he sniffs all the time, he's got a good nose, truthfully, he loves the fairer sex a lot more than men."

 

 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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