Meet Your Neighbor: Georgie brings calm, joy to dispatch center

1 month ago The News-Messenger

Meet Your Neighbor: Georgie brings calm, joy to dispatch center

Mixed-breed dog helps reduce stress for his human co-workers

FREMONT - Sandusky County Communications Director Tina Anderson carries the heavy burden of protecting her employees from the stress of daily emergencies, trauma and chaos. Her concern inspired her to add someone to the team with the specific job of bringing comfort and joy to the communications center. Unlike the other employees, he doesn’t wear a uniform. He wears a fur coat.

Georgie is a mixed breed dog who brings calm, excitement, comfort and sloppy kisses to the center.

“We think he’s a mix of shar-pei and a bully breed, like a pit or a mastiff,” Anderson said. “I’m going to break down and do a doggie DNA. We’ll love him no matter what. I’m just curious.”

Although Georgie had a rough early life, he has found a forever home with an abundance of mommies and daddies. His first owner neglected him and eventually abandoned him. In December 2021, he was sent to Marion Correctional Institute and was enrolled in a prison dog program. He remained at the prison for eight months under the care and training of an inmate.

“I went down to check him out. He was the sweetest boy and very intelligent,” Anderson said. “I paroled him on Aug. 3.”

Georgie stays calm even in a stressful atmosphere

Georgie now lives at the Sandusky County Communications Center. He is extremely sensitive to the center’s atmosphere and knows instinctively when to settle into his bed in the midst of the dispatchers’ stations, when to lean into someone having a bad moment, and when to tromp happily through the center looking for hugs.

“He’s so good when chaos is happening. He’ll go into his bed and lay down and watch us. When the calls slow down, he senses it and comes out and rubs on you like a kitty,” Anderson said.

That is exactly what Anderson was hoping for when she brought Georgie to the center.

Sheriff had to be convinced a dog would benefit the dispatch center

“I’m really into wellness programs and taking care of people. There are studies that show the physical and emotional benefits of dogs,” she said. “Here at the dispatch center, we deal with people having bad days, with people taking their last breath. This is another way to comfort (the staff).”

Sandusky County Sheriff Chris Hilton said it took some convincing for him to approve a dog for the communications center.

“It took about 2½ years before I said yes. Tina came up with a policy and kept asking every two or three months,” Hilton said. “In a weak moment, I said yes.”                    

Now Hilton stops in just to see Georgie.

“He’s great. I’m very happy with him. He brings everyone together,” Hilton said. “It’s been an incredible, overall positive experience for the sheriff’s office.”

Georgie comforted dispatchers during Dec. 23 turnpike pileup

Hilton saw firsthand the benefits of having Georgie at the center when he brought comfort to dispatchers handling calls during the50-vehicle Ohio Turnpike pileup on Dec. 23.

“We were dealing with all those 911 calls. One of our dispatchers was on the phone with the pregnant lady who eventually died. People don’t realize how it affects you,” Hilton said. “You go from talking to someone who just died to talking to Georgie, and he senses it. You’re coming from a very emotional incident, and he really senses you. He definitely makes you feel better.”

Georgie’s experience as a prison dog made him the perfect dog for the communications center.

“Being a dog in prison, he was used to different sights, sounds and experiences, so he’s already comfortable with that stuff,” Anderson said. “I have to give credit to the inmate who worked with him. The inmate wrote me a big letter, telling me his tricks. He was very grateful that Georgie was coming here, knowing he’d never be rehomed again.”

Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at [email protected]
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