Does your pup have what it takes to be the LAFD's K9 mascot?
Your dog could be the next official canine mascot for the greatest fire department in the nation – the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD)! Nominating your dog is fun, fast, and easy. Simply submit a photo of your favorite furry friend and let us know why your dog is a hero. The suggested entry donation is $10.
$1 = 1 VOTE
Encourage your family and friends to vote for your dog; each vote only costs $1. Be sure to vote early and often!
A panel of judges (including new Fire Chief Kristin Crowley) will evaluate the top 10 vote earners and select the Howling Hero of 2022!
All participation and voting proceeds will support the LAFD Foundation in funding essential tools, equipment, and programs, like the LAFD’s breakthrough Canine Therapy Program.
The 1st place Howling Hero winner will receive:
- Bragging rights and LAFD gift baskets for the owner and the winning pup
- An opportunity to be featured in a KTLA News segment as the new Howling Hero
- Recognition on the LAFD and LAFD Foundation’s social platforms
- Invitations to appear at select LAFD special events throughout the year
Second and third place winners will also receive a gift basket of LAFD apparel.
Meet Willow, the LAFD’S Newest Therapy Dog
Willow is a four-year-old yellow lab and specially trained therapy dog. She and her handler, Battalion Chief Robert Takeshita deploy to critical incidents to help firefighters manage the heavy stress and emotions they experience when responding to tragedies. Willow joined the LAFD family in June 2021 as part of the Department’s Peer Support program. She was fostered and specially trained by the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation in Murrieta, California, where she and Chief Takeshita continue their twice-weekly training. Willow’s warm disposition and gentle spirit, combined with her love for snuggles and belly rubs, make her the perfect ice breaker in sensitive situations.
Canine Therapy Program Update
The Canine Therapy Program exists to help alleviate psychological and emotional trauma impacting our firefighters.
First responders face higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety issues related to the volume and severity of tragic incidents they respond to on a daily basis. Research has begun to reveal the devastating impact these types of issues can have on first responders over the course of their careers.
To combat this alarming trend, the LAFD uses specially trained dogs to help comfort firefighters in times of crisis and make coping with trauma a bit easier. Therapy dogs, like Willow, are specially trained to recognize and react to human signs of emotional distress.
To learn more about the LAFD’s canine therapy program, please visit https://supportlafd.org/news/k9-therapy.html