TULARE COUNTY, Calif. -- Their fur has caught a lot of tears this year, and their puppy love and hugs go without notice.
On this National Fire Pup Day, many are honoring the canine members helping America's fire departments, thanking them for their comfort in a time of need.
In California, Labradors Moose, 4, and his nephew Rhino, 1, visited several wildfire base camps this week, including those of the Windy Fire and the Caldor Fire, bringing some companionship while firefighters are away from home.
"So much fun visiting all those protecting the beautiful nearby National Parks," the dogs' owner posted on Instagram.
The dogs are a part of the First Responder Therapy Dog Team.
Research shows that therapy dog services positively impact this population's behavioral health issues by helping to reduce stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, improving overall mental state, and increasing productivity.
"We are tasked with things that push us to our limits," John Aitchison, a firefighter in Marin County, shared with the program. "And having something like a dog brings some type of normalcy back into our lives. Having that comfort is absolutely therapeutic."
Golden Retriever Kerith and her handler, Heidi Carmen, are also a part of the program. They have traveled hundreds of miles this summer visiting firefighters who have been working since May with very little time off battling the devastating wildfires.
The Windy Fire is currently 89,804 acres with 40-percent containment and is a full suppression fire. Fourteen residences, 12 outbuildings, and two commercial buildings have been destroyed. Four injuries have been reported.
The fire is burning on the Tule River Indian Reservation and the Sequoia National Forest, including the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The fire perimeter has increased by 1,736 acres in the last 24 hours.
So far, 2,500 personnel, 71 hand crews, 136 engines, 17 helicopters, 23 dozers, and 12 water tenders are in service.