Therapy dogs are helping to comfort and rejuvenate firefighters who are on the front lines.

Therapy dogs have started to be used on the wildfire base camps where tired firefighters go to rest before going to work on their next fire. The dogs walk around and visit any firefighters who want to cuddle, providing much-needed stress relief.

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Kevin Brown, one of the firefighters fighting the Southern California fire, said, “They kind of take in whatever the firefighter wants to put out,” Brown said. “Some firefighters just come by and give them a quick pet. Other firefighters will sit down with them, spend five minutes with them, let the dogs kind of nuzzle up to them. Whatever that firefighter needs to do to decompress, the dog’s ready there for it.”

The therapy dogs provide relief from the stress of battling wildfires, as well as the homesickness that comes with being away from their families.

Heidi Carman, a handler that works alongside her golden retriever said, “I get a lot of laughter. A lot of people are laughing when they’re petting her. They’re laughing with each other and smiling.”

Carman also went on to talk about the emotional responses she sometimes gets, as many firefighters are missing their own pets or just overwhelmed after work.

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