Sublimity Fire District brings in second comfort K-9 following success
SUBLIMITY Ore. (KPTV) - After working with the Sublimity Fire District for three years, earlier this month K-9 Probie was officially sworn in.
People may remember Probie helping firefighters and community members during the 2020 wildfires. Amber Cross, who started the K-9 team and is also an Emergency Medical Responder, says Probie was brought in to help firefighters following tough calls.
“I’ve been in the fire service for over 20 years and I realized how important mental health is to not only myself, but to our volunteer firefighters,” Cross said. “Having been with Sublimity Fire the length that I have, approximately 15 years, I really wanted to give back to our volunteers here in Sublimity. It’s grown to our neighboring agencies as well to help support them. After some tough calls in 2019, I had a vision to start a comfort K-9 program. I reached out to our fire chief and he gave me the green light.”
With the success of the program, they brought in another K-9, Barney, short for Barnaby.
“We started with Probie, with a single therapy animal, and it had such huge benefits for us,” Fire Chief Alan Hume said. “So what’s better than one comfort K-9? Two.”
Barney is just 7 months old, but is well on his way to following Probie’s paws according to Cross. Both are loved by the community and not only help the fire district, but also surrounding agencies. In May, both K-9s were requested to help crews who responded to a deadly crash on Interstate 5.
“The K-9 program has been easily one of the best decisions we’ve made as a department and easily one of the most positive influences on our volunteers,”Chief Hume said. “First responder mental health is a huge issue and having a comfort K-9 program here at Sublimity Fire has been an amazing thing for us. We have absolute proof they are doing amazing work. They are a benefit to our department, to the fire service, and even law enforcement and EMS across the state of Oregon. Our goal is to continue to invest.”
“I hope we continue to build the program,” Cross said. “We want to make it more known for those in the fire service and for responders that it’s ok to not be ok. We are running on people’s worst days for their emergency calls. I want our responders to understand that mental health is an important part of our everyday life and Barney and Probie can be tools in the tool box and a resource for our community.”
Copyright 2023 KPTV-KPDX. All rights reserved.