An organization advocating for better mental health services for first responders has released a new calendar of firefighters posing with their pups.
“We really felt like dogs should be part of the theme, because they do help,” said Claudia Currie, the founder of Fight4Life, of its latest fundraising effort.
Back in 2018, Currie lost her son Kyle to complications with post-traumatic stress disorder. He was 34.
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While she was grieving the loss of her son, Currie says a therapy dog was by her side the whole way.
“I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to have that dog by my side,” she said.
“Kyle had a dog. It was a golden retriever and was one of things during the year he was so sick that kept him grounded.”
So, that’s why Fight4Life decided to highlight the important role pups play in the mental health of first responders in next year’s 2022 Halifax Professional Firefighters calendar.
“Dogs just focus in on the here and now, and the positives in life,” said Halifax firefighter Emma Roberts. “They’re a light in every day.”
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This year’s calendar honours Newt, who served as a therapy dog for nine and a half years. She provided comfort to countless firefighters and their families when they needed it the most.
One hundred per cent of calendar sales goes directly towards Fight4Life, which supports mental health initiatives for firefighter and first responders.
Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency says the work of Claudia and the rest of the Fight4Life team is having a direct impact on firefighters here at home.
“If a program comes up, a lot of times if it was going through our firefighter assistance program. It takes time to get things put through,” said Michael Sears, president of Fight4Life and a lifelong friend of Kyle Currie.
“This gives us a bit more of an immediate resource without that lag time. We can try different therapies outside the box, activities, anything we can to alleviate some stress.”
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As for Claudia Currie, she’s just happy to affect the lives of firefighters — all in her son’s honour.
“It’s a fight. We fight. That’s why we named it Fight4Life. Firefighters fight. They fight fires, we fight PTSD.”
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