The Goat Rocks Fire has been burning in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest since a lightning strike on Aug. 9.
It grew rapidly in size beginning on Friday, Sept. 9, and has now grown to more than 3,000 acres, though firefighters have reported that better weather and containment efforts have largely kept the blaze in check about 1 and a half miles from Packwood.
Over the weekend, firefighters were granted some furry support in the form of therapy dogs from HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response.
“These wonderful therapy dogs paid us a visit leaving us with bright smiles,” Gifford Pinchot National Forest wrote on Facebook Sunday, sharing photos of the encounters. “Therapy dogs are helping to comfort and rejuvenate firefighters who are on the front lines. These dogs have started to be used on the wildfire base camps where tired firefighters go to rest before going to work on their next fire. The dogs walk around and visit any firefighters who want to cuddle, providing much-needed stress relief.”
HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response’s mission is to provide comfort and encouragement through animal-assisted support to individuals affected by crises and disasters.
An Akita named Hadassah was among the therapy dogs.
“She loves playing in the water and the dirt, and eating watermelon, bananas, craisins, blueberries, apples, carrots and beets,” according to the Forest Service. “Hadassah loves to give hugs and kisses, seeming to ‘just know’ when someone would appreciate her attention.”
A chocolate lab named Bungee was also on hand. He's about 11 years old. His sister, Pickels is a black lab and is about 10 years old.
HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response has been serving people affected by disasters and traumatic events, free of charge, since 2001.
Learn more about HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response online at http://www.hopeaacr.org/.