'He touched the hearts of many': Therapy puppy at N.B. fire department dies in his sleep

Murphy is held by a firefighter. (Derek Haggett/CTV News)

A beloved Labrador retriever puppy owned by a New Brunswick fire department has died.

Eight-week-old Murphy, the Riverview fire department’s “facility dog,” passed away in his sleep overnight Wednesday.

“In the short time he was with us, he touched the heart of many people in our community,” said Fire Chief Robin True in a news release.

Murphy joined the department two weeks ago as a therapy dog for firefighters.

The puppy was part of the facility dog program provided by Canine Therapy for First Responders Atlantic.

“Our support for the program is as strong as ever, and when the time is right, we will renew this program in Riverview,” said True.

“The Facility Dog program is a valuable part of the mental health support system for our First Responders, as Murphy taught us.”

Tracey Ryan, the president of Canine Therapy for First Responders Atlantic, says her team will work with veterinarians at the University of Prince Edward Island’s veterinary college to determine what caused Murphy’s death.

“Our hearts go out to Riverview Fire and Rescue, our handler’s families, and the entire Town as we mourn this special puppy,” said Ryan.

The Town of Riverview says mental health support will continue to be prioritized for its staff at this time.