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Meet Clayton, M Health Fairview's therapy dog for EMS workers

Jul 14, 2023

By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

July 17, 2022 / 8:39 AM / CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS -- EMS workers help us out in the most desperate of situations.

It's stressful work that can take a toll, but M Health Fairview has come up with a really cute way to ease the tension.

It's one of the most important jobs there is, and it's one of the most stressful, too. And as of late, calls have doubled.

"I know crews that have worked upwards of eight, nine calls a day," EMT Kate Barnes said.

So M Health Fairview EMS made a new hire: Clayton, the therapy dog.

"His main purpose is to be a dog, and be a cuddly dog that people like to interact with so that they can kind of remove themselves for at least a moment," operations supervisor Kevin Kane said.

"I instantly forgot about that call," EMS worker Max Shermann said of his experience with Clayton. "It was a good mental break before we have to go back out there and do it all over again."

And he's not just good in crisis. He's perfect for company between calls

"It's so nice to be able to come in and take a minute and sit down and just relax and pet a pup," Barnes said.

"A little serotonin boost, pet a dog and then it gets you better prepared to go out and help other people when you're filling your cup with some puppy cuddles, it's great," David Sawyer said.

Clayton is trained on command, including the command to snuggle.

Kane is an EMS supervisor, and Clayton's hew housemate.

"He's the perfect mix of goofy but attentive," Kane said.

Attentive to the needs of those who so heroically tend to the need of others.

"He helps us help people better, too," Kane said. "It's good for everybody."

Clayton turned 3 this week. He spent the last few years training with Can Do Canines. Clayton also visits festivals and events, in hopes of making ambulances and medics more approachable.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield loves sharing the good news. She hosts a show on Sunday mornings based on local "positivity and empowerment," leading right into CBS Sunday Morning.

First published on July 17, 2022 / 8:39 AM

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