Firefighters may be tough, in truth, they’re double tough; but they need emotional support, too. Especially down in California, where they have been fighting fires seemingly since the start of May. Naturally not every firefighter is at every fire. But with over 8,000 fires across California with one approaching 1 million acres, they have to be exhausted by now.
That’s why the first responders battling California’s wildfires count on Kerith, a 2-year-old golden retriever and therapy animal. Kerith’s Instagram profile, which boasts over 12,000 fans, describes the compassionate pooch as one who loves typical dog stuff, like trail-running and splashing in the surf on the Pacific’s shores.
But when it’s time to go to work, Kerith shows up for firefighters who have traveled long distances to help combat fires, which have sparked throughout California and scorched more than 4 million acres since the summer.
Raised in San Rafael to be a guide for the blind, Kerith’s energy and affectionate temperament made her a more ideal candidate for emotional support training, and she went on to earn certification as a therapy dog. “She brings levity and a sense of playfulness even though they know the task of the day will be challenging,” said Kerith’s handler Heidi Carmen. She adds Kerith helps them feel less overwhelmed, exhausted and emotionally depleted.
In an effort to bring continued hope, Carmen also hands out pocket-size photos of Kerith to each firefighter she meets, as a charm to motivate them while they risk their lives to save others.
When she’s not thanking emergency crews for their life-saving work, Kerith is also known to visit local hospitals. But her favourite work and possibly her most important work is with the firefighters.
Taking a look at that Instagram account will show the looks on the faces of the firefighters who meet Kerith, which is impressive; especially when she is out at a fire basecamp. Because some of those camps are surrounded by fires, with insufficient resources to battle them all and watching them grow despite best efforts must be daunting and exhausting. But Kerith brings a smile.
And that’s important. If there is a way for you to bring a smile to the face of someone who is struggling, or support another who can, then that is a valid way to spend your time and money. That is what Kerith and her trainer have done. Read about it in your Good News Story of the Day here.
They are doing a great lot of good in California. “She makes people feel loved, special and important. One firefighter told me, ‘Kerith has the uncanny ability to make me feel like I am the most important person in the world,’ ” said Carmen.
Story and Image from NY Post.