Meet TOML. The year old chocolate Labrador already has one deployment under his collar. He joined the Alaska Air National Guard’s 212th Rescue Squadron last year.

TOML, whose name is an acronym for the pararescue community’s motto, “That Others Might Live,” serves the PJs of his unit, who respond to emergencies around the state and deploy overseas.

TOML is a trained expert in knowing when a team member needs a little extra emotional support. Although working dogs are common across the military, TOML will be the first canine to both officially belong to the unit and hold a service animal-specific role.  Ownership will officially be transferred to the unit from Midnight Sun Service Dogs, the non-profit organization that donated and trained him.

Midnight Sun Service Dogs is a 100% volunteer 501©3 that trains and places service dogs, therapy dogs and companion dogs to those with special needs,  with special attention paid to wounded military members and veterans.

TOML’s trainer, April Gettys, founded the non-profit and facilitated the donation of the dog to the unit.

Her husband, Air Guard Brig. Gen. Blake Gettys, serves as the joint staff director of the Alaska Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters.

TOML is what’s known as a “facility animal,” so he responds to and works as a service dog for whichever handler he’s been assigned to for the day. While it is hoped that the entire 60-member unit will be able to act as his handlers, so far 10 members have gone through the handler training, allowing them to take TOML home with them.

Members of the 212th could be in the unit for their entire careers, which means that a unit-owned service animal is a long-haul benefit for all.

At least three other units are working with Midnight Sun Service Dogs to get their own facility service dogs.

Additionally, three members of the 212th have received individual service dogs, and four others are in the process of getting their own.