Glendale Fire Department, Valley nonprofit use dogs to help relieve stress of recruits

Mar 22, 2022, 4:45 AM

PHOENIX — Glendale Fire Department recruits got to take a break from training on Monday afternoon and have fun with dogs during “Yappy Hour,” an event meant to help relieve some of the stress associated with becoming a firefighter.

The department partnered with Valley nonprofit Companion Pets in Crisis to bring two dogs to the training center to play with recruits.

Haydon Levenda, a recruit with the Glendale Fire Department, said hanging out with the dogs was something to look forward to after a day of training.

“You go through all your stuff, you work real hard, go to the classroom, get that stuff done and then come down and just know you get to play with some puppies is a super big stress reliever for me,” he said. “I know I’m going to go home and sleep like a baby.”

The department said it made the decision to host the event because the recruits undergo a lot of physical and mental stress during the training process, adding a goal for the event was to help them relax and unwind.

“It’s a really stressful environment,” Levenda said. “You’re being put to the test down here to see if you can make it as a firefighter in the field and there’s a lot of yelling and it’s just a lot, so getting to take a break and have some puppies with you is just an amazing opportunity for us to sit down and have some fun.”

Companion Pets in Crisis works with Valley fire departments to help keep families and their pets together during times of crisis.

Lisa Martin, founder and executive director, said the nonprofit typically responds to house fires.

“When the fire department comes across a need, that there’s pets involved in a crisis call, they’ll contact us,” Martin said. “Then we’ll come out and assess the situation.”

The nonprofit replaces pet items the family lost in the fire like food, collars, leashes, crates, beds and more.

“If a pet is injured from a house fire, we will cover that expense for the families so they don’t have to carry that burden,” she said.

More information about the nonprofit, including ways to help, can be found online.

Video by KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Schnell.

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Glendale Fire Department, Valley nonprofit use dogs to help relieve stress of recruits