CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Penny is a seven-month-old dog with a very important job for the Clemson University Fire Department.

She’s training now to become the department’s first therapy canine.

“Her role will be to support the well-being and mental health of our firefighters and first responders,” Lieutenant Jennifer Thackston of the Clemson University Fire Department said.

Thackston has been a member of CUFD for the past six years and has been a first responder since 2006.

She’s in charge of the department’s risk reduction program. That is CUFD’s efforts to assess homes and businesses for risks before accidents or fires happen.

She’s also in charge of Penny’s training. Thackston told us her help was needed.

“Firefighters are really tough on the exterior, but still just like everyone else, the calls and the situations do get to us. So, having a therapy dog at the station for whenever anyone needs that comfort. It’s so beneficial to the well-being of the first responders.”

Penny was donated to the Clemson University Fire Department by Becca Willis. She’s the owner of Double U Doodles in Liberty and Penny was chosen for a very specific reason.

“One of the key things about Penny is she’s a bernadoodle,” Thackston explained. “So, her coat is hypoallergenic. So, that really makes it a lot easier for her to be around all kinds of people.”

Penny has started work toward being certified as an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen.

“She’s been here every day since we got her,” according to Thackston. “She’s reported to work. Every day. Hasn’t had a sick day yet.”