EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — When you think of a police dog, you likely think of large, intimidating, German Shepherds, or maybe a Bloodhound utilizing its nose to track the trail of a suspect.
But the latest K9 to join the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office is of a different breed, literally.
Meet Deputy Dale, the rescued poodle-mix who will be working as a K9 therapy dog alongside School Resource Officer Alex Ritz.
“I have seen Therapy Dogs work wonders in instances where young children were required to testify in court,” Sheriff Paul F. Kuhns said. “There is something about a friendly dog that makes intimidating unfamiliar places, a little less scary.”
According to the sheriff, Dale is a 2½-year-old Poodle mix rescued out of Brevard County, Florida. Kuhns said Dale’s role will be to assist people during mental health crises, assist people dealing with anxiety after a traumatic experience, and help the social/emotional development of school children.
“It is proven that most people and children react favorably and openly to a friendly, tail-wagging dog, making them less agitated and more at ease. We hope to use this dog to bring comfort to people in need and to break down barriers,” Kuhns said.
Deputy Dale along with SRO Ritz went through therapy dog training in Florida earlier this month. Deputy Dale has reportedly been certified as an AKC Canine Good Citizen. Dale is non-shedding and has a hypoallergenic coat which helps when dealing with residents and students who may have allergies related to dogs.
“I have high expectations for this program, and I hope you help me welcome K9 Dale to our Sheriff’s Office and Community,” Kuhns said.