The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced its first-ever official mascot for the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps – Lt. Cmdr. Abigail. She is a facility dog who was bred, raised and trained by Warrior Canine Connection. In her new role, Lt. Cmdr. Abigail will provide therapeutic care to patients and Public Health Service officers, and she will serve as a living symbol of the USPHS Commissioned Corps’ commitment to the greater public and protecting the nation’s health.
Lt. Cmdr. Abigail’s namesake is Abigail Adams, the former First Lady of the United States, who has a historical connection to the service. The origin and history of the USPHS Commissioned Corps trace back to July 16, 1798, when Congress passed an Act, signed by President John Adams, creating the U.S. Marine Hospital Service to protect against the spread of disease from sailors returning from overseas ports and thus began the story of the Public Health Service.
“The mascot is a very welcome resource for Public Health Service officers and the communities we serve. As we continue to see an increase in mental health struggles across the country, I hope Lt. Cmdr. Abigail will serve as a beacon of positivity as she performs her duties.” U.S. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health, Adm. Rachel Levine
WCC facility dogs receive extensive training and are placed with a primary handler who brings the dog into their place of employment to perform a task for either the employees of the company or the clients of the handler. Facility dogs can perform a variety of tasks, including stress relief and public engagement. Additional WCC facility dogs have been placed in various roles, including several sheriff departments working in roles including alongside a chaplain and in public relations, as well as a Veterans homeless shelter, a Veteran Service Center, among others.
Learn more about Lt. Cmdr. Abigail and her official role, click here.