“He’s the best at deep loving eye contact,” said Sophia Barrett of Crisis Response K9s. Her dog, Teddy, is a 6-year-old Basset Hound mix living in South Philadelphia.
“He loves to like dip his head back and look at you,” she said.
Barrett got Teddy certified as a therapy dog after realizing the effect he had on everyone around him.
“Dogs are a really calming presence,” she said, and Teddy is no stranger to emergencies.
“I noticed that shift in his energy when he puts the vest on. It’s like he knows that he’s doing a job,” said Barrett.
Last summer, Teddy responded to the Surfside condo collapse in Florida, helping victims there for three weeks before becoming injured himself. The community donated over $10,000 to help get him home.
“We take the dogs into environments that have a lot of sirens, a lot of busy action, and the dogs need to be comfortable in those environments,” said Barrett.
Now recovered, Teddy is back to work in Philadelphia. When the Fairmount fire happened, Barrett took him to the neighborhood.
“I saw immense resiliency and community,” she said.
Teddy’s work helping this community cope with this tragedy isn’t done. Barrett is reaching out to the first responders who were at the fire too, offering the pup’s services to help them with their own trauma.
“It’s difficult to see the deep pain that people are experiencing, but having an interaction with Teddy that lets them smile for a moment is really rewarding,” she said.
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.