Recently, the Salinas, California, Fire Department had some exciting news to share with the public: they added a new crew member to the team! What’s so exciting about that? Well, his name is Cruz, and his hair is a bit longer than the rest of the firefighters you’re used to seeing,
but that’s because Cruz is a handsome black Lab that happens to be a therapy dog. Sworn in October 2022, in this case, he’s the Department’s first-ever.
Salinas Fire Chief, Sam Klemek, told KSBW Action News 8, “There’s a saying that in the fire service that firefighters are more paid for what they see sometimes than what they do. And, you know, that could be more true in Salinas.” He went on to add that they regularly see trauma, and it frequently involves children, which is tough to take for anyone without a heart of stone. “That translates into cumulative stresses for firefighters,” he noted.
While the general public doesn’t always think about it, very often, the same people who come to our rescue are the ones that could use a little rescuing of their own. You can’t face heartbreak and insanity every day without it catching up eventually. Carlos Pimentel is a Salinas firefighter and Cruz’s main handler. He acknowledged, “It’s very important for us to talk about mental health because it’s a real thing. Some of those types of calls just compile over time.”
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