MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is expanding its K-9 program with adopted dogs as “station therapy dogs.”

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez made the announcement Monday at Haulover Park in Miami Beach.

He says the response K-9 program will help first responders cope with stress and help victims in crisis situations.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is already working with animal services to adopt and train dogs to be therapy dogs.

As a former firefighter, Mayor Gimenez says this program holds a special place in his heart.

“I was a former firefighter myself. I know first hand how tough it can be to see the loss of life we often have to face.” Gimenez said.

“These therapy dogs give first responders the emotional support they need to heal and fire rescue is saving the lives of dogs that need homes.”

The dogs will be trained and housed at the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Ocean Station at Haulover Park.