McPherson Fire Department's new therapy dog will help educate children

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McPHERSON, Kan. (KAKE) -

Today was the first day on the job for a new employee at the McPherson Fire Department.

MAC, the lab-golden doodle mix is the department's third therapy dog, and he started his training Monday by exploring his new workplace.

However, MAC wasn't the only employee starting a new job.

"Today is my first day as well," Seth Graham said. "It's our first shift together."

Graham has worked at the fire department for eight years, but today is his first day as training captain. In the coming weeks, Graham will attend obedience training and therapy school with MAC. The dog will also live with him.

"It's exciting," Graham said. "My daughter loves it, and all the guys here really like him, so he'll be a good attribute here."

To help Graham take care of MAC, the fire department is counting on donations from the community so taxes do not have to be raised.

"We've got people that are donating food, that are doing fundraisers to support him," TJ Wyssemann said. "We have the vets here in town that have been very supportive of all the veterinary care for free."

And while the station will be MAC's home base, Wyssemann, the McPherson Fire Department Fire Chief, says the dog's most important job will pay those donations forward.

"He's going to go into the schools with our training captain and actually teach Learn Not To Burn," Wyssemann said. "He'll do exercises like Crawl Low Under Smoke and teaching kids that. He'll also do Stop, Drop, and Roll."

Wysseman hopes adding MAC to their Community Risk Reduction Program will help excite the students.

"Making that connection with the younger generation and keeping them safe first and foremost but also showing them what we do day in and day out, I think he's going to be the gateway into that," Wysseman said.

Story by KAKE News intern Maeve Ashbook. Follow her on Twitter