AMR Syracuse Welcomes Therapy Dog In Training


Once fully trained and certified, Benny, Therapy Dog in-training, will help Paramedics, EMTs and other First Responders with stress relief.
The caregivers of American Medical Response (AMR) Syracuse recently welcomed a new colleague to the team – one with four paws and a cute curly coat. AMR Supervisor Jordan Shultz recently brought home Benny, a Golden Doodle born on New Year’s Day.

“We are thrilled to welcome Benny to AMR Syracuse,” said Troy Hogue, Regional Director for AMR. “As part of our team, Jordan and Benny will assume a very critical role in helping our caregivers to manage the stress and emotional challenges that can come from working in such a demanding environment. Additionally, they will help other Syracuse area first responders and community members and will be available for deployments ranging from natural disasters and mass-casualty events to more local emergencies.”

Shultz has advocated for a GMR Therapy Dog for a couple of years and was thrilled to be named a handler in December 2021.

“I initially got involved with the GMR Therapy Dog team after I witnessed first-hand the difference they made while I was on a disaster deployment,” said Shultz. “I enjoy this role immensely. I know Benny will help our employees manage those moments of critical stress, and I am bringing smiles and happiness just by bringing Benny to work.”

Benny’s training and certification will take up to two years, and he’ll be at AMR a couple of days each week to get to know the caregivers and get acclimated to the team.

American Medical Response parent company, Global Medical Response, started the GMR Therapy Dog Program in Amarillo, Texas, in 2016. The team includes more than 30 certified therapy dogs from Florida to the Hawaiian Islands. In 2017, GMR sent therapy dogs to help first responders in Las Vegas after the Route 91 Music Festival mass shooting. In August 2019, GMR sent therapy dogs to help El Paso first responders after a mass shooting, and most recently, handlers and their pups traveled to Louisiana following Hurricane Ida.

The team is composed of standard-size Goldendoodles, Labradoodles or other hypoallergenic “doodle” breeds. Dogs joining the program always begin as puppies as they are more inclined to accept training. As the puppies are integrated into the local operations, they spend time learning the needs of the responders and helping mitigate stress levels. All GMR Therapy Dogs are obedience trained and certified.
AMR Syracuse Welcomes Therapy Dog In Training