Burke County training therapy dog to work with 911 dispatchers

Emergency dispatchers in Burke County have a new furry friend in the office with a special job.

Ellie Maye, a 12-week-old golden doodle, will be trained as a therapy dog for 911 dispatchers and work in the county’s emergency communications center in Morganton.

ALSO READ: Dog abandoned in Chattanooga reunited with owner

County officials believe the dog will be a big asset when it comes to handling the emotions after a difficult call to 911.

“Sometimes after the hard calls we do have, it’s nice to take our minds off of it and have a nice, friendly thing,” said dispatcher Brittany Epley.

Dispatchers told Channel 9′s Dave Faherty they each average between 40-50 calls a day. According to studies, there is a risk of post-traumatic stress disorder associated with the job.

Tele-communicators told Faherty there is also a high turnover rate where dispatchers nationwide change jobs after only five years.

“(It’s) very therapeutic. It helps when we’re dealing with a difficult situation or difficult call, she makes us happy,” said dispatcher Jenny Sacosky.

VIDEO: Area nonprofits help veterans get therapy dogs