The crew at Station 53 in St. Cloud received a visit from K-9 Merlin for an impromptu therapy session this morning as a part of his continuing training. Merlin is a 7-year-old Australian Shepherd that works for local non-profit K9 Helping Heroes as a trauma response dog, providing therapy and reducing stress and anxiety after crisis situations.

The company of a dog or other pet, talking with family or friends, or other ways of coping with stress and traumatic experiences may improve your mental health, and it is important to know that struggling with life’s challenges is nothing to be ashamed of.

If you or someone you know is in need of help over the holidays or at any time, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741. Both services are confidential, free, and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week