Firefighter Dog Hallie
July 24, 2020
With four paws and fur, Hallie has become the newest fixture at the Forsyth County Fire Department headquarters.
The Australian Labradoodle joined the fire department this summer to enhance the agency’s outreach program. Once fully trained, Hallie will be used to teach children about fire safety and also serve as a emotional support animal for fire department employees.
Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers explains that Hallie’s role in house will be just as critical as her role in the community.
“Firefighters get exposed to things that no one should have to see. And throughout a 25 or 30-year career, those stressful moments can really take a toll on someone if you don’t shed them off,” explained Shivers.
The pup lives with her handler and Forsyth County Fire prevention educator, Erin Long. Long proposed the idea of getting a fire department dog last year, after seeing the potential impact it could have on the outreach program.
“We’ve seen dogs at other fire stations. They’re used sometimes to actually work investigations, but we wanted a way to communicate with those hard to reach children about fire safety,” added Long.
Hallie is being trained to work with children of all ages including children with disabilities. She is also learning tricks to demonstrate simple fire safety tips such as ‘stop, drop, and roll’ through donated lessons from Peach on a Leash.
“She needs some time to still get the puppy out of her. She’s still young, but she’s learning quick and once she gets her energy out – she is very relaxed,” added Long.