Morton County Sheriff’s Department begins training puppy for K9 therapy
MANDAN, ND (KFYR) – In 2017, about six law enforcement agencies across the country used trained therapy dogs to help their communities with anxiety and trauma. Now over 400 agencies have K9 units that include this training. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department is leading the way for those in North Dakota with their furry arrival.
The nine-week-old goldendoodle puppy has an important job to do.
He will become a therapy K9 for the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.
“Our patrol dogs are trying to get drugs off the streets, but our K9 therapy is basically there to help people in need,” Deputy David Tomlinson said.
Deputy David Tomlinson, who will be associated with the dog, says they named the pup Major “Teddy” Hugz.
The pup was donated by a Montana owner with a connection to law enforcement.
“I love the vision they have for their department, and I also know the power of a dog and how therapeutic it is, and how healing and helpful it can be,” said Crissy Lopez, owner. of Montana Goldendoodles and Labradoodles.
Crissy Lopez says Major Teddy Hugz was selected in part because he has the right emotional disposition and temperament to be a therapy dog.
“A naughty-hearted puppy will come up and sniff you and nudge you and maybe bring you a toy, like ‘play with me, walk me, let’s do something together,’ and it kinda pulls you out of the emotional state you’re in,” Lopez added.
MPs say this breed was bred because of traits such as loyalty and human affection on the retriever side and high intelligence on the poodle side. They say this combination of traits will help her help community members with anxiety and trauma.
While the K9 will primarily calm and reduce anxiety for Morton County students, Deputy Tomlinson says the dog will also have other roles in the community.
“With a K9 therapy resource itself, the possibilities of helping people are truly endless. Whether it’s schools, working with victims’ rights advocates. There are so many things you can do with K9 therapy and deploy it effectively to improve situations. There have been instances where other agencies have let their dog sit at the stand with a minor to help them testify, and that’s another thing we look forward to using our dog for as well,” said Deputy Tomlinson.
Maj. Teddy Hugz will train with Deputy Tomlinson through 2023. He will be the first certified law enforcement therapy dog in a North Dakota sheriff’s office.
Veterinary services are provided by the New Salem Veterinary Clinic and Hill’s Science Diet provides food. Obedience training will begin in August with PetSmart before training continues with the department.
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