Paws for Responders, LLC  

Comfort K9

“It's one of those programs that is great to have. All of us love her, and though it takes dedication, we will utilize her all the time”

Officer Bill Collins, 

Sherwood Police Department

Getting Started

We would love to help you add a Comfort K9 to your life. Check out the points below, and the steps provided to get an overview of the Program.

Pick a Puppy

Starting with a young puppy, still in their socialization period, ensures that the puppy will feel right at home in their work environment. Plus, who doesn't love a puppy?! Emergency responders, and community members build extremely close bonds with therapy dogs when they can watch them grow and mature from puppyhood. Paws for Responders (PFR) will pick out the best puppy for each facility after the program requirements have been determined. Contact us to set up a meeting before bringing home a puppy!

Primary Handler

The Primary Handler is responsible for the care and training of the puppy throughout its career. This person takes the puppy home after work hours and is the main advocate for the dog and the program. Check out Things to Consider to determine a good Primary Handler candidate.

Primary Handlers go through training with PFR to learn exactly how to raise their new puppy to meet the standards of a working, successful facility dog.

Secondary Handler

Don't let the title fool you, Secondary Handlers are vital to a successful program. These handlers can use the dog in situations that their work position may have more exposure to, and are available as puppy caretakers when the Primary Handler is unavailable.  We recommend a team of 2-4 Secondary Handlers to help with the daily upkeep of a working pup.

Secondary Handlers also go through training with PFR to help the puppy maintain a consistent training program.

Internal Benefits

There are too many benefits to create an exclusive list, but here are a few to consider when adding a Comfort K9 to your team:

  • Having access to the dog provides emotional support to the emergency responders
  • Interacting with the dog can be therapeutic for responders recovering from primary or secondary trauma
  • Many responders will seek the dog for comfort before seeking human assistance
  • Adding the dog creates a "family" environment in the facility, giving the team and staff and central focus
  • Interacting with therapy dogs can release oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain and reduces cortisol levels, and blood pressure
  • Using a positive reinforcement training and puppy raising program teaches humane and ethical handling practices, which can be applied towards all types of relationship building and interactions

External Benefits

The perks of this program go beyond the morale boost in the facility. Here are a few ways adding a Comfort K9 to your team can have a greater impact:

  • The dog becomes the "face" of the facility to the community
  • Community members can interact with the dog and often will approach emergency responders more readily when the dog is present
  • Community members LOVE seeing the puppy grow up and will often generate support for the program
  • The dog is an effective asset to the emotional wellness program at the facility, which impacts the responder's work and personal lives in and out of the work place
  • Utilizing the dog creates interest in the benefits of an emotional wellness program in other facilities
  • Watching handlers use positive reinforcement methods with the dogs encourages the community to use humane and ethical handling practices with their own animal and human relationships

What sets this program apart?

  • PFR is currently the ONLY company solely focused on raising and training facility dogs for emergency responders
  • This program puts emphasis on utilizing the dog for the responders (rather than the community), acknowledging their continued exposure to primary and secondary trauma
  • Handlers are able to co-raise the puppy, so the puppy grows up in the facility and is able to bond with everyone there
  • Handlers are trained and assisted by a certified dog trainer throughout the entire program
  • Handlers are taught modern, science based, regularly updated training methods to enhance program effectiveness and efficiency
  • Puppies are individually picked and trained to meet the specific needs of each facility from day 1
  • Each program is customized to cater to the unique task requirements of the facility and the puppy
  • All costs are included in the program pricing, including, but not limited to: all dog food, medical expenses, basic supplies, and the entire training program for primary handlers, secondary handlers, raisers, and the puppy
  • Facilities take over ownership of the dog from Paws for Responders at the completion of the program

Why become a Puppy Raiser?

  • You will be a "certified Comfort K9 puppy raiser"

  • You will get weekly, free dog training sessions with a certified trainer

  • You will have free access to the entire online dog training program

  • You get to play with and love on a puppy!

  • You have the immensely rewarding experience of raising a dog to provide comfort and support for people who need it

  • Children and teens benefit from the responsibility, structure, and community service aspects of the program

  • Schools and workplaces may allow the raisers to bring the puppy-in-training

  • Costs for the puppy's medical, food, grooming, and basic supplies are covered

  • You get monthly breaks, when the puppy goes to stay with their primary handler

  • Other dogs, pets, kids, etc get the benefits from having an additional dog in the home without the 10+ year commitment of a new pet

  • If the dog is dropped from the program or retires, you will be on the list for adoption

Click the buttons below to follow the steps to adding a Comfort K9:

First - Planning for Puppy

Second - Policies and Procedures

Third - Picking the Program