Comfort dog 'Teddy' trying to support Philadelphia community after deadly fire

"It's like he knows that he's doing a job," said Sophia Barrett of Crisis Response K9s.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Comfort dog tries to ease pain after deadly Fairmount fire
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"It's like he knows that he's doing a job," said Sophia Barrett. Her dog Teddy is helping to comfort the Fairmount community after a recent fire left 12 people dead.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As an entire city tries to process the tragedy of 12 lives lost in one Philadelphia home, there's been a village of people and in at least one case, a dog, hoping to help.

"He's the best at deep loving eye contact," said Sophia Barrett of Crisis Response K9s. Her dog, Teddy, is a 6-year-old Basset Hound mix living in South Philadelphia.

"He loves to like dip his head back and look at you," she said.

Barrett got Teddy certified as a therapy dog after realizing the effect he had on everyone around him.

"Dogs are a really calming presence," she said, and Teddy is no stranger to emergencies.

SEE ALSO: 'Near certainty' Fairmount fire ignited when Christmas tree set ablaze, Philadelphia officials say

"I noticed that shift in his energy when he puts the vest on. It's like he knows that he's doing a job," said Barrett.

Last summer, Teddy responded to the Surfside condo collapse in Florida, helping victims there for three weeks before becoming injured himself. The community donated over $10,000 to help get him home.

"We take the dogs into environments that have a lot of sirens, a lot of busy action, and the dogs need to be comfortable in those environments," said Barrett.

Now recovered, Teddy is back to work in Philadelphia. When the Fairmount fire happened, Barrett took him to the neighborhood.

SEE ALSO: Comfort dog injured at site of Florida condo collapse returns home to Philadelphia

"I saw immense resiliency and community," she said.

Teddy's work helping this community cope with this tragedy isn't done. Barrett is reaching out to the first responders who were at the fire too, offering the pup's services to help them with their own trauma.

"It's difficult to see the deep pain that people are experiencing, but having an interaction with Teddy that lets them smile for a moment is really rewarding," she said.