Four-Legged Friend Joins Virginia 911 Center to Help With Job Stress
When work gets overwhelming, dispatchers simply scoop the puppy up and enjoy some quality time.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
By Emily Coppola
TAZEWELL, Va. -- The Tazewell County Sheriff's Office Communications Division has grown by one four-legged member.
With the large amounts of stress that communication officers endure each day, the strain can be intense. When the opportunity for a live-in canine arose, these officers collectively decided to take him in.
According to Lt. Randy Davis, the owner of several puppies called the 911 Dispatch office stating that they were looking to surrender the puppies. During the call, the communication officer heard the puppies playing in the background and was immediately interested.
"They actually heard the puppies in the background on the radio. They asked if they could get them to come by they just sounded so awesome," Davis said.
After all five puppies were surrendered, four boys and a girl, the communication officers fell in love with the wiggling tails and wet noses. As for which of the puppies had a personality that fit the dispatch room, one playful puppy stole everyone's hearts.
Ever since he's been here he's brightened everybody's day," Davis said.
Along with being the official 911 office canine, the adorable puppy will also make visits to schools, senior homes and events as the official 911 Ambassador, according to the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office.
According to Davis, both Sheriff Brian Hieatt and Chief Deputy Major Harold Heatley had previously spoken about getting a dog for the dispatch office. Once the puppies became available they knew that this was the perfect opportunity.
"He [the puppy] stuck out because when each one of them held him, especially Communications Officer A.S. Gallagher, that tail was going 90 miles an hour," Davis said.
According to Hieatt, the only people responsible for paying for the new puppy are the communication officers themselves. They have agreed to buy all of his necessities out of pocket and care for him during their shifts. As there is always a shift of officers working at the dispatch department, the puppy will always have several people with him.
The communication officers are also the ones responsible for caring for the small puppy after the department collectively decided that they would.
As for his siblings, all puppies have been happily adopted into happy homes, Davis said.
Since arriving at the department last Friday the puppy has played happily on the floor as the officers take emergency calls and work to dispatch law enforcement to the appropriate locations. When work gets overwhelming the officers simply scoop the puppy up and enjoy some quality time.
The office receives hundreds of calls daily, so the environment can feel dense and stressful, according to Davis. On a recent particularly hectic day, Davis said she expected to walk into the stressed feeling but she was pleasantly surprised.
The atmosphere was happy," Davis said while tossing the puppy his chew toy.
As for his name, the dispatchers left it up to the public to decide. All four of the communication officer shifts suggested one name each, which were then posted on the Tazewell County Virginia Sheriff's Office Facebook page for a vote.
And by a landslide of almost 200 votes, Rookie, the 911 dog, was born.
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- Emergency Management