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Ada County dispatch center welcomes a four-legged friend to the team

The Ada County Sheriffs' office started a pilot program at their dispatch center with the Idaho Humane Society.

BOISE, Idaho — The Ada County Sheriffs' office started a pilot program with the Idaho Humane Society at their dispatch center. Two weeks ago they welcomed their first foster dog, an 8-year-old Yorkshire Terrier who was rescued from a hoarding incident in Elmore County.

"They were in horrible conditions, they were matted, they had cheatgrass embedded in them, they had filthy kennels, stagnant water, and they were in awful conditions,” said Laurien Mavey, who works for the Idaho Humane Society.

The dog, Bug has suffered from a ruptured eardrum and needs to undergo two surgeries and dispatchers will help nurse her back to health.

“We talked about having a therapy dog for the dispatchers because of the hard work they do and how emotionally tolling it can be but because of the environment it’s not the perfect place for a therapy dog to live,” said Sheriff Matt Clifford. “So we talked to the animal control director and came up with a plan to implement the foster program."

Nicole Whitteker, 911 dispatch manager says coming to work and being greeted by Bug, makes her days better.

"It's pretty awesome to walk into the dispatch center and immediately have a dog available to you,” Whitteker said. "This morning our staff was discussing it and called it a miracle worker of sorts."

Dispatchers work 10-hour shifts and often have to deal with difficult phone calls.

"Our dispatchers take a wide range of calls but some of those are truly horrific things to experience with people on the other end of that line,” Whitteker said. “To be able to turn and have this small dog that, we're taking care of her but in a sense, she’s taking just as much care of us when it's nice to have that emotional support."

According to Whitteker, dispatchers are on a rotation taking care of Bug and are more than happy to do it.

"We actually have an entire rotation that we have people sign up for making sure she's is fed and gets her meds in the morning, making sure she's fed and gets those same meds at night,” she said.

Bug and many of the other Yorkshire Terriers still need to be nursed back to health before going up for adoption. While it's unknown where Bug's forever home will be, dispatchers hope she is the first of many foster dogs to come.

“It's really rewarding to be people who can be advocates for you know an animal that's never going to be able to speak up for herself,” Whitteker said.

To become a foster parent for a pet click here.

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