AT&T Launches Animal-Assisted Therapy for First Responders

Originally published at about.att.com. AT&T is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.

 

In advance of the 2021 storm season, FirstNet, Built with AT&T — the nation’s only network built by public safety, for public safety — is introducing “ROG the Dog” animal-assisted therapy to support public safety on the front lines. This new initiative builds off of the launch of the FirstNet Health & Wellness Coalition and reinforces our commitment to Be There for America’s first responders by further supporting the health and well-being of those who serve their communities each and every day.

Compared to the general population, first responders experience higher rates of depression, PTSD, burnout, anxiety and other mental health issues. In law enforcement, one study found a more than 20-year difference in life expectancy compared to the average American male. In addition, it’s estimated 20-25% of all first responders experience post-traumatic stress. Therapy dogs are proven to have a positive impact on mental and physical health. Studies have shown that interacting with animals can improve coping and recovery, enhance morale, decrease stress, and reduce the effects of PTSD and emotional distress.4 And as public safety’s partner, we have a responsibility unlike any other wireless carrier to deliver for the first responder community. That’s why we’ve gone beyond our commitment to build and operate FirstNet and are providing this unique type of support to keep them mission-ready.

Affectionately named after the FirstNet Response Operations Group (ROG) – the team led by former first responders, that guides the deployment of the FirstNet fleet of dedicated deployable network assets – ROG the Dog is actually a fleet of trained Labradoodles who specialize in animal-assisted therapy for first responders. We’re collaborating with Global Medical Response (GMR) to provide the therapy-dog services that are specially meant for times of crises following natural or man-made disasters. GMR chose Labradoodles as their therapy dog breed because of their temperament, they are hypoallergenic, and well suited to providing calm and care in the middle of chaos. The ROG the Dog initiative is currently comprised of over 30 animals located across the U.S.

To strengthen public safety’s command and control of their network, we launched the FirstNet Response Operations Program in 2018. This program aligns with Homeland Security’s National Incident Management System with a focus on life safety, incident stabilization and property conservation. With FirstNet, public safety agencies have access to a dedicated, nationwide fleet of 80+ land-based and airborne portable cell sites, like FirstNet One – all at no additional charge. The deployable network assets are designed to keep FirstNet subscribers connected to the information they need, no matter where their mission takes them. This allows first responders to make rescues, communicate and coordinate their emergency response, or aid in recovery, even in the hardest-hit areas or most remote parts of the country.

When public safety calls upon the FirstNet fleet for additional support, the FirstNet Response Operations Group works with the agency to assess the situation and either deploy an asset, or identify and provide alternate solutions that could better serve public safety — such as expediting network restoration, quickly turning-up indoor coverage, and now, providing therapy dog services following a crisis. So far this year, public safety has requested support more than 125 times for planned and emergency events covering everything from COVID-19 vaccination centers to winter storms.

Agencies on FirstNet can request ROG the Dog in the same way they request an asset from the FirstNet fleet. And just like the fleet, ROG the Dog is available at no additional charge. Simply, call 1-800-574-7000 or contact their FirstNet Solutions Consultant and the Response Operations Group team will work with you to determine if your request meets the requirements for therapy dog services.

Latest News

Video: How Companies Are Ensuring Equity for People With Disabilities

The National Organization on Disability held its annual forum in Washington, D.C. last week, bringing together community leaders, advocates, government officials and corporate leaders and influencers to focus on the advancement of people with disabilities in the workplace. DiversityInc also met up with leaders from Capital One Financial (No. 22…

Validated Allies wallpaper

DiversityInc Announces 2022 Validated Allies

Allyship is a journey rather than a destination. The work of an ally never really ends and allies understand they are not necessarily always working toward a goal, but rather, serving a greater purpose. Each year, as part of our Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc recognizes a…

CDO Series: Sysco’s Adrienne Trimble

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the latest installment of a series of articles…

NOD Forum: Honoring the Disability Rights Movement

The road to disability rights has been a long one. One that started long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was passed. In celebration of 40 years of the National Organization on Disability, disability leaders, supporters and activists gathered in Washington, D.C last week to discuss the…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 29

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Research Outlines Lack…

Humana Ranks Highly in the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility Inclusion Index

Originally published at press.humana.com. Humana ranked No. 9 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.   Humana Inc. celebrates the high rankings it recently received in the 2022 Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) Corporate Inclusion Index (CII), a research initiative that measures Hispanic inclusion in the…