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K-9 Lola begins her 'Lab work' at West Hartford Fire Department

A new therapy dog will join firefighters and paramedics on the job.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Lola, a two-and-a-half-year-old, lovable yellow Labrador Retriever is in her first week as part of the West Hartford Fire Department.

The rescue dog from Texas was extensively trained by the Florida-based ground called K-9s for Warriors, now that she has arrived in West Hartford she will be teamed with Matt Hebert, a firefighter and paramedic with the department.

"This is a completely different way of taking care of my (firefighter) brothers and sisters. This is literally the love of an animal that is there to help them," Herbert said. 

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Hebert noted that the PTSD rates from the rigors of both firefighting and going on paramedic calls can take their toll and Lola is here to help those who might need it.

"She’s not a cure-all, she’s not some panacea to the things we have to see and deal with on a day-to-day basis however she’s an introductory step to help our firefighters relax and decompress," said Hebert. 

From the main floor of Fire Station no. 2, West Hartford firefighter Dante Pezzolesi said Lola brightens up the room when she walks in. 

While many police departments in the state have therapy dogs, there are just a few fire departments that have a K-9 on staff. 

Lola is now part of the West Hartford Fire Department’s Peer Support Team, she will live with Firefighter Hebert full-time. 

"She’s going to do well throughout her career here," Herbert added. 

 Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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