CTFFR welcomes K9 Siren, HRM Fire Captain Thompson

HRM Fire's Annette Thompson with two of her dogs. (Waterfront Media/Sean DeWitt photo)

HALIFAX: Canine Therapy for First Responders Inc is pleased to welcome Halifax Regional Municipality Fire (HRM Fire Department) to the CTFF Atlantic team.

Welcome to K9 Siren, our newest Facility Dog in training! Siren is a beautiful 17-month-old male Bernese Mountain Dog who will formally enter the Certified Facility Dog program along with his Handler Owner, Captain Annette Thompson.

Captain Thompson has also been formally appointed to the designation of Apprentice Trainer under the direction of Canine Executive Program Director and Lead Master Trainer, Rhonda Langille.

Annette’s love of animals started at an early age surrounded by pets and rescues of all species at her home in Newfoundland.

Annette, who calls Porters Lake home, has been working with therapy dogs for well over a decade and has been featured on numerous shows such as Animal Planets – Save My Pet and several episodes of NSK9.

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency allowed Annette to introduce the first therapy dog program using her personal dog Ripley in 2010 and since then her dogs have worked with fire departments and search and rescue teams in NS in times of crisis and pain.

Annette and her dogs have travelled across Nova Scotia to voluntarily aid Members and Citizens.

Her selfless devotion has been commended by Halifax Regional Municipality Fire Chief Ken Stuebing.

“We are incredibly Proud of Captain Thompson, she is a true representative of our brand and is truly a selfless and servant leader,” said Stuebing in a release. “We are supportive of Captain Thompson’s appointment to Canine Therapy for First Responders as an Apprentice Trainer and are very proud of her accomplishments.”

Annette joined HRFE as a firefighter in 2007 but this was not her first career. Her initial career was one of the first female commercial divers and underwater welders in the world, working in countries such as the UK, Australia and NZ.

After retiring from that career, she became a registered massage therapist, specializing in PTSD as well as massage for canines.

It was while teaching anatomy and pathophysiology at ICT Northumberland College that her dog Ripley worked as a therapy dog for the students and staff in the classroom and beyond.

Annette is a passionate volunteer. She leads the HRFE Partners for Life blood donor team for Canadian Blood Serices, she swims harbours on behalf of the United Way, is a board member for Fight4Life and has been on the HRFE CISM-FFAP team for over 13 years.