“Baxter” is a 5-month-old chocolate lab that will become the state’s first comfort dog for Maine’s three Emergency Communication Centers.

From the Department of Public Safety:

These hard-working men and women are a calm voice in chaos, multi-tasking, quick-thinking first-line responders who navigate stress and trauma daily. Baxter’s mission is to provide health and mood-boosting benefits to these Emergency Telecommunicators and the community. “We are excited to bring Baxter, the first Comfort Dog, to Maine and, I believe, New England,” said Brodie Hinckley, the Maine Bureau of Emergency Communications Director. “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. We would like to thank Hero Pups and AT&T for making this happen.”

The Bureau of Emergency Communications has partnered with Hero Pups, a New Hampshire-based all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to training and pairing dogs with veterans and first responders. Hero Pups works with mostly shelter and rescue dogs and involves veterans and first responders in the dog’s training process. “We are thrilled to be working with the Maine Bureau of Emergency Communications and happy Brodie Hinckley found another way to help his community and staff,” said Laura Barker, Founder of Hero Pups. “Brodie is the perfect person to be the handler for this pup and we look forward to working with him as we train Baxter.”

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