Dog brings new psychological support to Yukon first responders

Yukon first responders have welcomed a new four-legged friend to their team. Thorin the dog’s mission will be to provide psychological support to emergency personnel in stressful situations.

Every day, first responders are exposed to psychological injuries, and many of our members suffer from themexplains the chief of Yukon Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Gerard Dinn, who describes the initiative as different and D’innovative.

This dog plays a role in not only helping treat psychological injuries, but also preventing them.

A quote from Gerard Dinn, Chief of Yukon Emergency Medical Services

Thorin, whose name evokes a character from the Lord of the Rings universe, is a Labrador retriever who was trained for more than two years in British Columbia to be able to detect the level of cortisol, a hormone stress in people.

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Thorin is cared for by Commander and Emergency Medical Services Support Group Manager, Alison Harper.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Sarah Xenos

This is the very first dog certified by the program PADS, the Pacific Service Dog Society, to be welcomed to the Yukon. He will work with Emergency Medical Services teams, the Fire Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) throughout the territory.

I can see the joy he brings to everyone here and to the other first responders. It warms my heart and, so far, makes me feel complete in my workindicates the leader of the peer support group for EMSAlison Harper.

It was she who took all the steps to welcome Thorin into the team and who, in the evening, brought him home to accommodate him.

He was trained to detect stress and high cortisol levels in first responders, and he was trained to bring those people down to a lower level.she explains, adding that the dog can, for example, lie on a person’s lap to help them.

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Thorin trained for over two years in British Columbia before being assigned to the Yukon teams.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Sarah Xenos

We need to do more than a peer support group, and this is a first stepsays Alison Harper.

She explains that Thorin works for first responders first. This is not a program for the public, but the dog has had the opportunity to make visits to the hospital, and he is expected to return there to visit patients.

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