A 5-month-old chocolate Labrador puppy will soon become Maine’s first official comfort dog.
Baxter will serve Maine’s three emergency communication centers, where he will offer comfort and support for dispatchers, according to Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
He was scheduled to visit his future workplace at the Augusta Regional Communications Center Tuesday.
“We are excited to bring Baxter, the first Comfort Dog, to Maine and, I believe, New England,” Brodie Hinckley, the director of the Maine Bureau of Emergency Communications, said Thursday. “Baxter will be part of our Dispatch Family and provide daily support for our first, first responders, the Emergency Telecommunicators. You can tell how much a dog has a therapeutic role and can de-escalate stressful situations while providing unconditional love and support to the crew on some of their most challenging days just by being present in the center.”
The Bureau of Emergency Communications partnered with New Hampshire-based nonprofit Hero Pups to train and bring Baxter to Maine, along with financial support from AT&T.
Baxter will continue to receive training at Hero Pups until April, when he will be 1-year-old and will officially begin his duties in Maine.