Texas Hero Hound Wins Dog of the Year Award for Supporting Stressed Firefighters(VIDEO).

Clementine won the Dog of the Year Award at the 2022 ASPCA Humane Awards for her work at Cedar Hill Fire Department’s Fire Station #212 in Texas

Clementine, ASPCA’s 2022 Dog of the Year, with a firetruck and firefighters of Cedar Hill Fire Department’s Fire Station

Clementine is a hero who comforts heroes.

The 3-year-old Catahoula/hound mix is a shelter dog turned firefighter whose story starts in 2021 when she was dropped off at a Louisiana animal rescue. After arriving at the shelter, Clementine was relocated to Tri-City Animal Shelter in Cedar Hill, Texas, by an ASPCA Animal Relocation team to protect her from Hurricane Ida.

At Tri-City Animal Shelter, the hound dog was adopted and returned twice and was still looking for a forever home when Captain Robert Moree of the Cedar Hill Fire Department proposed to his crew and town administration that the department adopt a dog to help firefighters cope with their stressful jobs.

“They immediately offered their full support,” Moree told PEOPLE of the response to his pooch proposal.

Clementine ended up as the pup Cedar Hill Fire Department picked to join their squad by chance.

“One day, after I responded to a call that was not far from the Tri-City Animal Shelter, I decided to stop in to see what dogs they had available. I knew we wanted to rescue to help bring awareness to adopting from local shelters. I explained that we wanted a dog they were having a harder time placing, preferably one that was older and would easily adjust to the fire station without needing the attention and training a puppy would,” Moree explained.

Clementine, ASPCA’s 2022 Dog of the Year, with a firetruck and firefighters of Cedar Hill Fire Department’s Fire Station

Cedar Hill Fire Department’s Fire Station #212 adopted the dog in October 2021, a few hours after Moree first met her. The fire captain said Clementine started bonding with the station’s five-person crew hours after arriving, taking a walk with each firefighter.

“Today, she’s a bit of a celebrity amongst the local fire stations here in southeast Dallas, joining us on calls and trainings and leaving a lasting impact on everyone she meets along the way,” Moree added.

Over the past year, the rescue dog has helped the heroes of Fire Station #212 cope with traumatic calls and stressful shifts around the clock. Clementine lives at the station full time, so she is always on hand to help her coworkers and gets her own play yard.

“As firefighters, we’re typically thought of as the ‘macho guys,’ but the things we experience leave a lasting impact on us, and, at times, it can be hard to share our emotions after responding to some tough situations. Clementine not only makes the station feel more like home during our 24-hour shifts but also offers a positive, constant boost to morale and keeps us excited to come to the station,” Moree said of Clementine’s impact.

Clementine, ASPCA’s 2022 Dog of the Year, with a firetruck and firefighters of Cedar Hill Fire Department’s Fire Station
COURTESY OF CAPTAIN ROBERT MOREE AND THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (ASPCA)

“She can easily read the room and sense emotions from the minute our crew walks in after a call, and when she walks up to everyone with her tail wagging and seeking their attention, it’s easy for us to lose ourselves. For the moment when you’re petting or playing with her, those tough situations don’t feel as tough anymore,” he continued.

Clementine’s ability to bond with Fire Station #212’s crew and provide therapeutic support during overwhelming moments earned her the Dog of the Year Award from the 2022 ASPCA Humane Awards.

“Clementine represents how a shelter dog can be both a beloved pet and a valuable source of therapeutic support and comfort, which is reflected so well in her moving interactions and remarkable behavioral development with these firemen. As a shelter animal transported out of the path of an upcoming hurricane, she also demonstrates the lifesaving value of animal relocation,” Matt Bershadker, ASPCA’s president and CEO, shared in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

Clementine, ASPCA’s 2022 Dog of the Year, with a firetruck and firefighters of Cedar Hill Fire Department’s Fire Station
COURTESY OF CAPTAIN ROBERT MOREE AND THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (ASPCA)

“Our hope is that people see Clementine’s story and are inspired to support animal welfare efforts locally and nationally so that more “underdogs” like Clementine—at-risk animals or animals with special needs or challenges — can find second chances to survive and thrive in safe and loving homes,” Bershadker added.

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Moree and the rest of Clementine’s crew are proud of their award-winning pet.

“It’s amazing. We adopted Clementine to help bring awareness to the large impact rescuing a pet from a local shelter can have – especially on the mental health of first responders – and now, receiving this national award through the ASPCA helps us accomplish just that. Clementine could not have been a better fit for our station and what we were hoping to accomplish by adopting her, and it’s so heartwarming to see her work and impact recognized by the ASPCA on such a large scale,” the captain shared.

Clementine is handling the fame that comes with being named “Dog of the Year” well, sticking to her daily routines.

“She loves to ride on the firetruck with us during our calls, sitting on the dashboard howling as the siren goes off, and absolutely loves kids. She provides comfort to those who may have been injured or brought into the fire station to receive care, and, like most dogs, she acts as our extra doorbell, howling before the bell is rung to make sure we’re aware we have visitors. Her favorite role, though, is part-time canine vacuum cleaner, cleaning up delicious scraps from our plates or the floor after our meals,” Moree said.

 

Source : people.com