EXETER — The Exeter Police Department is making a pawsitive addition to the force: A comfort dog is joining the ranks for the first time and has already begun training with her handler Detective Bailey Teixeira.
The department has partnered with Hero Pups, a Stratham-based nonprofit dedicated to pairing support dogs with veterans and first responders.
This will be the first comfort dog placed with a police department on the Seacoast by the all-volunteer Hero Pups since the organization was founded in 2016.
While no decision has been made on a name just yet, Teixeira and the new comfort dog- a 4-month-old chocolate lab - will train together under the guidance of Hero Pups founder Laura Barker until she’s a year old, at which point she’ll officially begin her duties within the department and the Exeter community.
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Exeter police said the new four-legged recruit, whose mother was a rescue dog that gave birth while in the care of Hero Pups, will become a vital resource for victims of trauma, providing a therapeutic role while she can also help de-escalate stressful situations.
Among her duties, Teixeira focuses on crimes involving juveniles as well as all sexual assaults, conducting many interviews and working alongside the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
“Our comfort dog will be instrumental in providing a calming presence to all victims who need her support on some of their hardest days,” Teixeira said.
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After a long day’s work, the comfort dog will travel home with Teixeira, and when they’re off the clock, she’ll be able to unwind from her day and relax just like any other pup.
Funding for the comfort dog will be covered entirely through donations with no tax dollars involved. A fundraising campaign will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Hero Pups is an amazing organization and we appreciate all the work Laura and her volunteers have done to make comfort dogs available to law enforcement agencies like Exeter," said Chief Stephan Poulin, who worked with Teixeira and Deputy Chief Josh McCain to add a comfort dog to the roster. This is a resource we’ve talked about adding for a while now and we’re excited to finally be able to bring our new dog on board and introduce her to the community.”
In addition to her work for the department, the dog will also be visible in the community, attending various events and visiting the local schools, especially when she can be of assistance in stressful situations.
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“We are thrilled to be working with Exeter Police Department and happy that Chief Poulin and Deputy Chief McCain looked into new ways to help their community," said Barker. "Det. Bailey Teixeira is the perfect person to be the handler for this pup and we look forward to working with her.”
The new comfort dog will make her big public debut on National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Swasey Parkway.
“We hope people stop by to meet our newest recruit. She’s sure to provide lots of hugs and kisses,” Teixeira said.
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Comfort dog joins Exeter NH Police Department thanks to Hero Pups