New addition livens up Colorado fire station

Posted By elaine on December 7, 2010

A Denver area fire department has a new team member.  Firefighters at a Westminster Fire Department Station have a new baby; Julep, a half-Labrador half-Golden Retriever puppy. 

Karen Consigny holds a tired Julep(photo Westminster Fire Dept.)

Westminster Firefighters Karen Consigny and Kurt Morris recently got Julep, as a candidate for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).  The puppy lives with them at home and at work as part of the socialization she needs to become a service dog.

“When Karen came to us with the request of bringing a dog to the fire station while she was on duty, it brought to mind the old image of a Dalmatian with firefighters,” said Chief Jim Cloud. “So, the idea of a dog at the firehouse wasn’t foreign.  Knowing the program is to help those with disabilities made the decision to allow it pretty easy.”

CCI breeds Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and a cross of the two to be assistance dogs.  Volunteer puppy raisers, like Karen and Kurt, care for the CCI dogs for 13-18 months. Julep will live with them 24 hours a day even accompanying them to the fire station during their firefighter shifts to learn socialization skills. 

Karen and Kurt also take her to monthly classes and provide basic obedience training. When Julep is ready she will travel to a Canine Companion training center for 6-9 months of professional instruction and master over 40 commands. 

If Julep successfully completes training she will then enter Team Training to be matched with an adult or child with a disability, enhancing independence and improving their quality of life.

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One Response to “New addition livens up Colorado fire station”

  1. Cassie says:

    Wow – what a cutie! And how awesome is it that these firefighters who already give so much continue to do so!

    I wanted to also let you know that I have added your blog to my blogroll on http://www.truecoloradoculture.com. Great posts!

    Thanks,
    Cassie

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