Solly Is Helping Triple-Zero Workers Deal With Traumatic Calls
New South Wales Ambulance has a new recruit and he's only 13 months old.
Embarking on a new role is often daunting, but so far Solly the therapy dog has found it quite a treat.
He's the youngest New South Wales Ambulance recruit ever and every day his good work earns him a pat on the back.
He works in the triple-zero call centre at Eveleigh, helping staff members through stressful situations and often bringing a smile to their faces after they've dealt with a traumatic phone call.
"He just provides that welfare support, comfort and companionship to our staff when they're having really bad days or just lifts the mood of the room," his carer Maxine Puustinen told 10 News First.
"You can very much see the tension drain from their faces."
Not unlike his colleagues, Solly is highly trained. He spent 12 months at pet therapy school, learning to deal with all types of social situations.
But his trainer, Christine Runde, believes he was born for the role describing him as "big cuddle bug"; a temperament that meant he wasn't suited as a guide dog.
"You can have a class of 30 of the brightest kids and not all of them can become doctors and lawyers, so some of our dogs, while they're very smart they don’t have the right temperament to become a guide dog," Ms Runde from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT said.
"Solly has shown us that he prefers to look up lovingly to you rather than walking in front.
"He is just a sweetheart, a big cuddle bug and has a very calming effect on people."
So, the golden Labrador's role at the centre is to socialise and sleep all day and in doing so he comforts call-takers and dispatchers.
Call-taker Marissa Swales said her new four-legged co-worker already "brings happiness on those tough work days".
"We deal with a lot of not-so-nice things in here, so it's nice to have something positive to brighten our days," she said.
NSW Ambulance is not the only workplace employing puppy power, there's a burgeoning canine career path with pooches now working in courts, hospitals, schools and airports.
Warragul Dental Care has Australia's first dental therapy dog - Dogtor Bruce.
"We brought Dogtor Bruce on board because we see a lot of anxious and nervous patients," Belinda Brauman said.
"It's not just about the patients, its great for our staff too in the dental industry we work long days so to be able to have a Brucey cuddle just brightens the mood."