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City of Missoula Fire Department adds therapy dog to its team

Nine year old Jack had his first official day on the job in Missoula on Wednesday
Therapy dog MFD
Posted at 4:48 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 10:44:37-04

MISSOULA — First responders are constantly called to intense situations which can take a toll on a person's mental health.

To help, the Missoula City Fire Department (MFD) brought in a new colleague: a therapy dog.

Nine-year-old Jack had his first official day on the job on May 15, 2024. He was the first dog certified to support first responders in the state of Montana.

MFD Dogs
Dogs have a history at the Missoula Fire Department dating back to the 1800s when they used to work with and protect the department's horses.

Dogs have a history at MFD dating back to the 1800s when they used to work with and protect the department's horses.

Data shows that dogs can lower stress, heart rate, and blood pressure.

"Jack's job is to kind of reduce stress at the station and kind of make it feel more like a home," said Danny Beck, Jack's owner and a firefighter/paramedic.

Serving as part of the Missoula Fire Department's peer support team, Jack helps by offering crew members a break from the action.

Jack MFD Therapy Dog
Serving as part of the Missoula Fire Department's peer support team, Jack helps by offering crew members a break from the action.

With a wagging tail and smile, he's helping change the stigma around mental health in emergency service.

"It's okay not to be okay after some of these calls. And Jack just kind of represents that focusing on mental health or therapy is not necessarily a bad thing even though we don't like talking about it. We're trying to do better at that and knowing that the healthier we are physically and mentally, we'll be able to serve our community better," shared Beck.