HANFORD, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Kings County Fire Department Union is offering the community an opportunity to purchase a special challenge coin to help a very cute and furry cause.

The Kings County Firefighters Local 3747 recently received a special four-legged donation by FAST Credit Union in Hanford – in the form of a therapy dog named Oreo.

  • Image courtesy Kevin Menezes
  • Images courtesy Kevin Menezes

Oreo is a female 10-month-old Bernadoodle (Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle, for those wondering) whose primary job is to provide comfort and affection to those experiencing a trauma or hardship.  Oreo is still new to the department and will undergo training at two local facilities until she turns two years old to become certified in her field, but she’s already made an impact on fire crews and the community alike.

Her handler, Kings County Fire Captain Kevin Menezes, says she is the first therapy dog in the department’s history and will be utilized to help firefighters cope with the stresses that can arise from difficult calls. She will also be dispatched to scenes where traumatic events have taken place to help victims lower stress levels, and she will be attending community events to promote wellness in mental health.

The purpose of the fundraiser is to help offset Oreo’s everyday expenses, which are expected to total around $3,500 annually. The funds raised will be directed to her veterinary bills, toys, treats, kennel, insurance, and other incidentals over her lifetime.

There are 200 coins in the initial round of sales and Menezes says the community is excited about purchasing them.  Each commemorative challenge coin costs $20, with free delivery to purchasers in the city of Hanford by Oreo and her handler. Shipping is available at a cost to those outside of Hanford.

Anyone looking to purchase a coin may do so by reaching out to Menezes on Oreo’s own Instagram page .

If you’d like to meet Oreo in person, she will be at the Thursday Night Market Place in Hanford on October 6 at 5:30 p.m.