The newest edition at Sonoma Valley Fire District had months of training, but don’t expect him to pick up a hose. Koda is a therapy dog, specially trained to help firefighters cope with the rising stress of their workload.
“We’re obviously doing a line of work that’s inherently dangerous,” said Trevor Smith, Koda’s handler and Sonoma Valley’s Fire Marshal. “As we’re driving into an area, everyone else is driving out.”
Koda arrived on Thursday, a graduate of Paws for Life K9 Rescue program that is designed to address the growing concerns around mental health among first responders — particularly among paramedics and firefighters – as part of the fire district’s Canine Therapy & Peer Support Program.