Baxter the therapy dog provides support to AMR paramedics

Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases late last year, San Diego medic Chandra Cooper has been deployed temporarily and intensively. She lived in Imperial County for three months, moving the patient between a 60-bed temporary care facility. University high school.

He worked hard shifts 24 hours a day, moving patients from overwhelmed hospitals to makeshift facilities, and returning some patients to the hospital’s intensive care unit when their condition worsened.

She got to know doctors and patients. She knew who lived and who died.

Even on their vacation, it was difficult to get rid of as everyone was quarantined to minimize exposure to the deadly virus.

“You are always surrounded by COVID and disease and that is the focus every day, every minute,” she said.

Support dog Baxter’s hairy face did one thing to make people feel normal.

A two-year-old dog, a Golden Retriever mixed dog known as the Poodle and Goldendoodle, regularly visits American Medical Response paramedics and dispatchers after the ambulance. It is located near the company’s Kearny Mesa office and a local hospital ambulance.

Its job is to help first aid personnel relax and find comfort. Paul Forney, AMR Operations Manager, said:

Baxter relaxes in the corridor near the office he shares with handler Paul Forney at AMR’s San Diego Operations Center.

(For Nancy E. Luiz / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Baxter was also there when the crew were deployed in Imperial Valley and Costa Mesa to help care for COVID patients. At work he wears a therapy dog ​​vest and hangs a small badge around his neck.

Even daily in San Diego, Baxter, sitting on the rig, is welcome after calling and organizing the records, Cooper said.

“It only gives you one chance to get out and get your feet back on the ground,” said Cooper. “A moment of bliss in the chaos. It is very painful to get upset about a puppy. He reminds us how much support we have.

When she was in Imperial County from mid-December to early March – excluding Christmas and New Years with family and friends – Baxter helped ease the homesickness she and others felt. We felt really alienated and felt Baxter-esque normal, which gave him a chance to come in and everyone stand up, gather around him and feel like a team. I have this normality, ”she said.

Managers hear positive opinion that shortly after the fatal shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Dogs were used at the AMR Texas office to aid first responders. Then I got my first therapy dog ​​in 2016. Kevin Mercer, AMR Operations Director in San Diego, said:

The acquisition cost of Baxter was approximately $ 2,200 with an additional $ 1,500 for training. Baxter lives on Poway with two dogs with Mercer and wife Julie after hours.

Baxter has a badge that identifies him as a “Power Medic”.

(For Nancy E. Luiz / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Good therapy dogs are confident, curious about anything, and need to be willing to try new things, says Shannon Anderson, owner of Total K9 Training who has been with Baxter for over a year. ..

Baxter is quick to learn, calm, and not easy to surprise, said Anderson. As an added bonus, it doesn’t fail and is hypoallergenic.

Mercer said it was worth the cost. “We can say that there are employees who visit Baxter every day,” says Mercer. “And after a stressful phone call, he spent some time with the agent while he relaxed.”

With a large mop of soft fur, calm nature, and a constantly swaying tail, Baxter approaches everyone you meet. Last afternoon at AMR, he visited a classroom where paramedics were listening to training lectures.

As he was roaming the room, several doctors came up to him to pet him. After Baxter rated the sandwich, they pushed the sandwich off the edge of the desk. He moved and stopped for another medic who gave him a long hug.

All of today’s work.

Baxter visits AMR Operations Manager Claudia Rempel.

Baxter works with handler Paul Forney at AMR’s San Diego Operations Center and visits Operations Manager Claudia Lempel.

(For Nancy E. Luiz / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Baxter, the therapy dog, supports AMR paramedics Quellelink Baxter, the therapy dog, supports AMR paramedics

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