Community Paramedic Program Adds Therapy Dog

Community Paramedic Program Adds Therapy Dog

Image: Joules the therapy dog takes a break in the back of an ambulance

Always looking for ways to better serve her patients and clients, Community Paramedic Tara Swanson  recommended adding a therapy dog to their team. Once she had permission to move forward, Swanson  worked with Caldwell County Animal Care Enforcement Division to adopt Joules, a 12-week-old American  Bulldog mix in April 

“I knew from the very beginning that I wanted a rescue dog for our program, because she would spend a  majority of her time working with clients in our RESTART program, who, much like Joules, have a second  chance for a better life,” said Swanson. 

Once she is certified as a therapy dog, Joules will provide affection, comfort, and support to RESTART  clients, people suffering from opioid addiction, and others in our community. 

Before Joules and Swanson can work with clients, they must complete training. Currently, the pair are  working with Cameron Lauterbach, owner and lead trainer for the Blue Ridge Canine Academy in Hickory, and James Whiteheart, a private trainer for ring sport competition canines. 

“We are fortunate to have two of the top trainers in our area working with us for free,” said Swanson. “They  are teaching the two of use commands and techniques to help Joules interact with clients and the  community. While Joules is learning quickly, I believe the training is for me as much as for her.” 

Joules and Swanson hope to be certified within a year to work with clients. For now, Joules is successfully  providing stress relief for staff and starring in her own social media @lovely_joules. 

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