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Garden Valley Fire Gets New Member

mini golden doodle, firedog, puppy, firefighter, dog, dog handler
Roy the Fire Dog Poses with Fire Chief Wes Norman

Garden Valley Fire is welcoming its newest member, Roy the fire dog. Roy is a mini golden doodle, known for their great temperament, virtually no shedding, and they’re hypoallergenic. He was given to the agency through the nonprofit Hearts 4 Heroes USA that supports men and woman in uniform by providing emotional support animals. In addition to providing the animal, the nonprofit covers all expenses associated with their dogs through fundraising and donations.

Roy is the first official fire dog of Garden Valley Fire. He will be trained in emotional support for first responders and attend community events where he can spread his love to everyone. Roy will be a working dog responding to calls, attending events, and providing support where needed. The purpose is simple, to provide support for frontline responders here at Garden Valley Fire and neighboring agencies.

“Our responders help people every day, we can’t forget to help them” – Wes Norman, Fire Chief GVFD

“For many of our first responders, performing their duties can be extremely taxing on their mental health. These heroes ensure that we all live safe and sound, and at Hearts 4 Heroes USA, we believe that it’s time for the rest of us to give back to the people in uniform who serve our communities.” – Shelley Martell, Heart 4 Heroes USA

Roy the fire dog is named after long time Garden Valley Fire District Captain Roy Buchmiller. Buchmiller joined GVFPD in April of 1985 and quickly became a pillar of our relatively young agency. He recruited dozens of firefighters and even created the Explorer Scout program in the district. Youth in the community would come to the fire station after school to learn about our profession or a friendly pick-up game of basketball. Captain Buchmiller saw a need in our community and started a program that morphed into what is now known as “Every 15 Minutes”, teaching community youth about the consequences of drinking and driving. That program is now conducted nationally. Roy retired from GVFPD after a full career. On February 12, 2022, Roy passed away at his home in Kelsey. Roy was passionate, dedicated, and knew how to support his fire family.

When it comes to helping first responders, Hearts 4 Heroes USA is off to a great start. In just one year the organization has placed 10 dogs with agencies such as Rescue Fire District, Folsom Fire, Roseville Fire, the Firefighter’s Burn Institute and Dignity Health just to name a few. In fact, Roy is the 10th dog placed this year! Many more agencies are requesting dogs in year two as the program grows legs. The goal is to get one of these dogs in every firehouse.

Dogs like Roy find success through community partners that sponsor these dogs and local heroes. Local companies such as Lees Feed, Dr. Sean Roth DDS, and Benton Photography have already stepped up to help. Roy is looking for support as well. If interested in donating to Roy, or for more information, please reach out to Chief Wes Norman at Garden Valley Fire via email If you would like to learn more about the program, please contact or visit

Feel free to Visit @hearts4heroesusa socials on IG and FB, and/or Donate online to @hearts4heroesusa Venmo.

You can follow Roy’s progress on Instagram @firedogroy or on the district’s Facebook page. We look forward to seeing all of you in the community and at upcoming events.