This joint venture takes dogs out of the shelter and gives them a temporary home at one of the four fire houses.
It also puts the dogs in the public eye for adoption and gives firefighters emotional support while on the job.
7News spoke with the shelter on Wednesday, Feb. 26 and learned six dogs had been adopted since the program began in January 2020.
At Boiling Springs Fire Station 14 was the lovable dog Axe, who quickly made himself at home said firefighter Lieutenant Major Jamie Lee.
“He’s the best,” Lee said.
Greenville County Animal Care‘s Paula Church, Community Relations Manager, was overjoyed at the idea.
“It’s such a great example of what we mean by community working together, for the purpose of helping these animals,” Church said.
Additionally, Foster and Rescue Supervisor, Sue Canniff , was proud of the initiative the district took because they’re in desperate need of foster homes.
“I can’t think of a better thing.” Canniff said. “They’re amazing. They’re heroes.”
Lee said it was his wife that thought of the idea of having fire station dogs.
He explained his family home wasn’t able to have them. So, the program seemed like a fair alternative.
“When he first called, I thought maybe they’re talking about one station. It was like hitting a jackpot to find out that they were interested in having a pet at all four stations,” Church said.
To make sure it wasn’t just a benefit to one station, and it was a way to reach out to the community, Lee created Code 3 K9 foster to adopt program with Greenville County.
“It is stressful in our shelter. It’s noisy at our shelter. So by getting them out and getting them into homes, it gives them that initial phase where they’re gonna go back into the community,” Canniff said.
This foster program isn’t just for the dogs, the animals are giving firefighters much needed emotional support to after a long day.
“This is bringing awareness to PTSD in the fire service. This is a rough business,” Lee said. “Just sitting down in the recliner, trying to lose the stress. I think most of the dogs will jump up in a lap and just love on them.”
Lee noted to a recent survey from the International Firefighters Association of more than 7,000 firefighters about stress and PTSD.
“Over 97% of firefighters who completed the survey admitted to critical stress,” Lee said.
He noted that the dogs, for however long they stay at the station, are little emotional heroes.
If you’d like to adopt any of the dogs, you’re asked to call: (864)288-5037 Boiling Springs Station 11, or click here to see all the available dogs at Greenville County Animal Care.