Mesa police therapy dog to provide comfort to crime victims
MESA, Ariz. (AP) — The newest member of the Mesa Police Department may be cute and cuddly, but she is getting ready to do serious work in the department’s new Therapy Canine Program.
Macy the English Labrador puppy made her debut as the department’s first therapy dog Tuesday, The Arizona Republic reported .
The program was created for the city of Mesa and the police department and is based out of the Mesa Family Advocacy Center, said Police Chief Ramon Batista.
Macy’s job will be to provide therapy and emotional support to adult and child crime victims, he said.
The hope is that Macy’s presence will make the victims feel more at ease when talking with investigators.
Macy still needs to undergo various types of training and certifications, said Det. Chelsie Furman, Macy’s handler, who works on sex crimes and child crimes.
“That will take her through the first couple of years, and then we’ll just continue on and see where she can go from there,” Furman said.
Macy arrived at the Mesa Police Department when she was 8 weeks old. Now at 16 weeks, Furman said Macy is learning basic obedience skills and has already learned how to sit, stay and wear a seat belt in the car.
“She is a little sponge,” Furman said.
Macy won’t work out in the public until she is certified, which could take at least another year, Furman said.
But Macy is already a natural at her job, providing comfort to members of the department dealing with loss or other difficult situations.
“I’ve seen a difference in how they react even with her just being a puppy,” Furman said. “She’s able to help our officers and our staff members who maybe need a little bit of positivity.”
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com