Almost everyone knows just how therapeutic it can be to have a dog around. It’s been shown that stress levels drop when having a dog nearby, as they make for fantastic friends. Because of this, therapy dogs have been used for years to help people that have been through a traumatic situation, and now the Albany Police are using therapy dogs to help victims, as well as officers that have experienced trauma.
The first dog that the Albany Police trained is named Maxie, a black Labrador Retriever that immediately connected with people after being introduced. Maxie acts as an ambassador for the police department, interacting with people in the community all while helping people to find some stress relief. More dogs will follow Maxie, heading to court rooms, schools and many other places that are known for being stressful.
“There’s no higher stress environment in this country than a law enforcement environment,” Police chief Eric Hawkins said. “So if these other environments were incorporating this tool to relieve stress and for therapeutic purposes than why shouldn’t we look to see if something like this would work here?”
Almost right away, Maxie’s impact had been seen in the Albany community. Kyle Haller, the officer who handles Maxi, said that the dog’s purpose “is to be pet, to be snuggled,” adding that “Not often do people come up and want to just talk to me. When you have a dog, everybody wants to come over and pet the dog. It kind of puts a cheerier face on the uniform, on police work.”