Hero Dog Awards - India

India

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

India, or Indie, has served First Responders in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area since 2020. Indie is 3 years old, she’s a registered service dog who specializes in PTSD with the East Baton Rouge EMS. Indie arrived in October of 2020 following employee driven promotion and recognition of The Code Green Campaign, bringing awareness to the mental health issues in first responders & reduce them. The first responder professions have long held a culture resistant to our mental health, by normalizing what is seen/experienced rather than qualifying it as traumatic or painful. She has been at the forefront combatting the stigma of mental health effects on responders, educating through interactions & with our PTSD Team in defusing sessions. Since Indie’s arrival, we have seen a notable increase in responders acknowledging their mental health or distress & requesting help before it becomes debilitating. Consistently, they ask for her first. Indie also provides a daily distraction from everyday stressors which arise often in emergency response. She helps decrease stress and anxiety, with non-judgmental comfort and affection, which she has mastered & shares with our local hospitals, firefighters & law enforcement officers. Indie loves requests to visit pediatric patients at our area children’s hospital. Working during a pandemic, increase of violent and 911 calls & lack of staff, Indie kept us going when we felt as if we couldn’t take one more step. She may in fact be everything to us.