Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 05:00

(TNS) - For 911 dispatcher Lynette Starnes, the most chilling calls are the ones that come in from locations she can’t track.

“A stabbing, a homicide, a medical aid, we’re trained to get through that stuff,” she said. “But if I don’t know where you’re at, we can’t help you, and that is my personal biggest stress.”

Starnes has learned to weather the pressures of the job after more than three decades as a dispatcher for the San Rafael Police Department. But sometimes, she said, it’s tough to shake the anxiety.

That’s what Blue is there to help with.

Blue, the department’s new “comfort dog,” reported for duty for the first time last month. The 2-year-old Labrador and golden retriever mix was trained as a service animal by the San Rafael-based Guide Dogs for the Blind. But after several months working for a person with a vision impairment in Salem, Oregon, the organization decided Blue’s personality was better suited for a different role.

“This is his job,” dispatcher Anndora Lee said on a recent morning, motioning to Blue, who laid quietly on his plush dog bed inside the police department’s emergency call center. “He’s really good at it.”

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