For paramedic Louis Belluomini and his partner Star, their journey together started just last year, and it has led them to Putnam County.
"We've been working together since September of 2016, so just this past year, and we started working up in Toledo together," Belluomini said. "My wife and I tried to move closer to home since we just had a child and luckily Putnam County brought us on, ever since then we've been running together."
Star is a special kind of service dog that mainly helps Louis through his work day. The two met through the three week program K-9s for Warriors, after Star was sponsored and named after the Eastern Star out of New York. She is there to make life a little easier for Louis, who was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after his time in the Army.
"With the issues that I had, I started to work on medication with the VA, and I was on several different medications; I didn't really like being on medications, so this was a different route that we decided to take," Belluomini said. "One of her main purposes is to prevent anyone from getting too close to me, she wakes me up from nightmares in the middle of the night, stops me from sleepwalking - she goes everywhere with me, so that she understands what's going on with me all the time."
Ever since these two joined the ranks, the Putnam County EMS says that they’ve been a big help - even though the squad says that they would have never expected to have a K-9 unit dog in the first place.
"We really like having both of them around, it's always interesting when Star is around; we can't pet her when she's working, but every once in a while he'll take her vest off and we get to play with her and she acts just like a normal puppy," said Chief Nancy Erhart of the Putnam County EMS. "Never thought of [having a K9-Unit dog] for EMS, but it's a great addition for us."
While Star is there to help Louis, he says that sometimes she can be a comforting presence to children in certain situations - but mostly she’s waiting, ready in a moment’s notice to spring into action and lend a helping paw to her partner.