Emergency crews in Central Alberta will have all four paws on the ground starting this fall.
PAWS is short for Psychological Awareness and Wellness Support; and Alberta's first PAWS team is comprised of paramedic Erica Olson and accredited facility dog Delray, the black lab.
Olson told 99.5 Drum FM the dog will visit EMS crews after traumatic calls to provide emotional support.
"They increase oxytocin creation, which is really positive because one of the stress hormones is cortisol and oxytocin can help decrease the amount of cortisol that's in your system," she explained. "Also, it's proven to lower your blood pressure and lower your pulse."
Delray and Olson will tour the Central Health Region, visiting various EMS units after they have responded to traumatic calls. The PAWS team will also make regular station visits to maintain morale, promote mental wellness, support members re-integrating back to work after taking time off for psychological injuries and raise awareness about mental health resources available to employees.
"We're one team and there's a lot of EMS providers in Alberta, so as we go through the first year, we'll do our activities in Central Zone, but across the province we'll be responding for some acute stress events," noted Olson. "When it works, we hope to expand and have more teams so that there can be more regular support in each zone across the province."
"It's something intangible and a little bit mysterious and that's the part that science, you don't need it for, you can see the results" added Olson. "It's really amazing to watch how special the bond is between humans and dogs, and Delray loves connecting with people that way."
The initial plan is to try PAWS in Central Zone for 12 to 18 months, then see if it can be expanded to the entire province.

More Local News

UPDATE 11 Avenue SE Blocked Off By RCMP

UPDATE; The bomb squad from Edmonton attended the scene, inspected the suspicious item and deemed it not to be explosive. Residents will be allowed back into the building later this evening. On…

Local Teacher Reflects on Notre Dame Fire

Many Canadians woke up on Monday morning to the news of the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France was engulfed in flames. While the flames were miles away, the impact was still felt in the…

Morrin School Announces Hockey Program

On Tuesday, Morrin School Principal, Don Yavis, announced a new option for the junior high students where they will be able to learn about and participate in hockey.

Horner Dominates in Drumheller-Stettler

The people of the Drumheller-Stettler riding have had their voices heard with the Provincial Election last night and their voices selected Nathan Horner as their future MLA.

Nathan Horner Wins Drumheller-Stettler Riding

UCP candidate Nathan Horner has won the Drumheller-Stettler riding with a landslide of majority votes. With 96 polls reporting out of 102, Horner leads his closest rival, Independent Candidate Rick…

LIVE Coverage - 2019 Alberta Election

LISTEN LIVE to our 2019 Provincial Election coverage for the Drumheller-Stettler and Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills riding with Jason Blanke, Allie Ruckman and special guest Heather Colberg (Mayor - Town…

Emergency Plan if the Bridge is Blocked

It doesn't happen often, but when the Gordon Taylor Bridge is impassable it creates havoc in the community. The Town of Drumheller wants you to know that there is a plan in place if you can not get…

DrumhellerOnline.com is Drumheller's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide