Livonia police purchase department’s first therapy dog
Cooper, a 14-week-old goldendoodle, is still learning the ropes at his new gig.
In a year’s time, Cooper will aid the Livonia Police Department by bringing comfort to people interacting with police and being there for officers who’ve responded to a difficult call. But for now, the pup will spend the first year of his life getting acclimated to the department, its staff and the community.
“Anyone who’s suffered from a traumatic event, is testifying in court or is nervous about something, we’ll bring him to them,” said Sgt. Stacy Hayne, Cooper’s handler. “We’ll have him be pet by them, and that instantly calms them down.”
Hayne expects Cooper will be great for children interacting with police, and he’ll be visiting some of the local schools in early September. Cooper will likely be a fixture of any event the department holds, as well.
The therapy dog programs in Oakland County, Birmingham and Bloomfield Township inspired Hayne to propose one in Livonia. She thinks having a therapy dog will pair especially well with the social worker Livonia police hired last year.
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Cooper’s training will take place over two weeks in October, and he’ll be eligible for certification when he’s a year old. Hayne thinks having a Goldendoodle as a therapy dog will be a good fit as the breed is known for being friendly, easy to train and hypoallergenic.
Livonia has one K9 dog, Colt, who serves in a very different role than Cooper will.
“It’s totally different training,” Hayne said. “It’s like night and day. Cooper is supposed to be the kinder, gentler, come pet me dog.”
When he’s not at the office, Cooper will live with Hayne and her family. She said her children are already in love with their newest family member.
“I love dogs, and I truly believe that having a dog around to love on reduces stress and anxiety,” she said. “So, I don’t know if his job ever truly stops because we’re constantly loving on him at home.”
Contact reporter Shelby Tankersley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-305-0448. Follow her on Twitter @shelby_tankk.