Hancock Field Air National Guard --
Everyone has a bad day, but what do you do when a fellow airman has a bad week? Or a bad month? You get them a dog! Not just any dog, but a dog that can sense stress and emotional strain in the people around. A dog that is around for therapeutic purposes.
The 174th Attack Wing(ATKW) has recently received such a dog. His name is Spicer, he's eight months old and has a contagious personality.
"That is something that he's developed on his own," said Master Sgt. Pete Metz of the 174th ATKW. "Whenever he goes into a room he greets everyone. He's not shy, he won't go into one corner of the room and hide there."
From the time that the 174th ATKW has had Spicer, he's brought smiles to each airman he's come across. Over 150 airmen have been positively affected by having Spicer around. Although he hasn't been on the base full-time yet, his transition to becoming full-time is running smoothly.
Spicer, who was named after one of the founding members of Clear Path for Veterans, was picked up from the Clear Path facility and that is where he's residing until he's integrated permanently with the Attack Wing. For the time being, he visits the base each drill weekend.
"The plan is to have him fully integrated in the next three months," Metz said. He's being trained to recognize stressors in people. Once he identifies one of these stressors, he'll go up to them and place a paw on their leg, nudges the person, or brings them his ball to throw. He'll do this just to bring that person out of whatever bad mood they may be in. It's also to bring attention to the other airmen. That type of training takes a little while."
After Spicer is trained to the point where he'll be with the Attack Wing on a permanent basis, he'll still go through refresher training periodically.
Spicer is going to be a great addition to the 174th ATKW family. He's definitely been welcomed with open arms.