PUTNAM COUNTY — A full-time paramedic recently hired by the Putnam
County EMS has a special partner that accompanies him as he makes runs.
is a service dog for paramedic Louis Belluomini, who started his new
job last week. She helps Louis as he battles Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder or PTSD. Star has been with Louis since September 2016.
was in the military for nine years serving with the combat military
police in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with PTSD after his
“I was given medicine but didn’t like the way it made me feel,” he said. “I always felt draggy and tired.”
got married in December 2015. The following February his wife Jessica
became pregnant. She was concerned about issues Louis was having with
his PTSD and wanted to find another option besides medicine for Louis to
treat his PTSD.
They heard about a program that matched veterans with service dogs.
“I had to fill out a 50 page application telling
about my job, my problems and what happened overseas,” Louis said.
“This helps them match and train the right dog with the right veterans.”
He said the program is all free to veterans.
costs $15,000 to sponsor a dog” Louis explained. His dog was sponsored
by an Eastern Star/Mason Fraternity. The sponsor can name the dog.
said Star was in training for a year before he met her. “Then I went
down to Florida and met Star,” he said. “We went through training
The Labrador and golden retriever mix was paired with
Belluomini through the nonprofit K9s for Warriors. Star’s former owner
was an active duty military member who donated her after being deployed.
days after we met, Star woke me up from a nightmare,” Louis said. “Star
and I were in tune very quickly. They said it sometimes takes six
months for a veteran and dog to become in tune.”
Louis said Star can sense when he is having a nightmare and will nudge him awake with his nose.
“She also senses when I’m about to sleepwalk,” he said. “Then she lays on top of me and prevents me from doing it.”
also said one of the important things Star does for him is to protect
his personal perimeter. He said in the military they are trained to
watch their back and their partner’s back.
“By having her I don’t have to every worry that someone is behind me because she is always watching behind me.”
Louis said most patients do not even realize Star is accompanying him on the EMS runs.
Star will get into the squad and sit quietly in the space between the driver and the cab.
if it s multi-injury run I can have Star assist my by bringing some
medical supplies that are in her body gear,” Louis said.
Star is also trained to do rescue of missing children.
said Star senses when Louis may be in an uncomfortable situation. He
said Star will also hold his body stiff to assist as a brace if Louis
requires it on a run.
Louis has been a paramedic since 2007. Prior
to coming to work in Putnam County he has worked for Pro Medica in
Toledo and Findlay-Hanco EMS.
He and his wife reside in Findlay and have a son.
has spoken at nursing homes, 4-H clubs and other service organizations
about his service dog. He wants to get the word out about the program
that may help other veterans with PTSD.