Wilmington Police Department Welcomes New Therapy Dog | News


WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Police Department has welcomed a furry new member to the force. Zena, their new therapy dog, joins the ranks and helps the community by training as a therapy dog.

In a Wilmington Police Department press release issued Jan. 19, the department noted, “Chief Joseph Desmond is thrilled to announce the latest addition to the Wilmington Police Department – ​​Zena.

“Zena is an 11-week-old Bernedoodle who joins the Health and Recovery Unit to help Wilmington residents struggling with mental health, addictions, other behavioral health issues – or just having a tough day .

“Zena loves bringing smiles to faces, letting new friends pet her and learning new things. Zena has started basic training and over the next year she will undergo extensive training to become a therapy dog.

Zena’s work on strength, as described by Chief Joseph Desmond:

“We hired her as a therapy and comfort dog, we did a lot of research, the military uses them, and we saw that there are many emotional and mental positive effects when cities have comfort dogs.”

According to the press release, Zena has the genetics and personality best suited to life as a therapy dog.

“Zena has an excited but calm temperament, loves meeting new friends and has recently discovered her love of snow and leaf chasing in the wind. Zena was individually selected from hundreds of dog breeds due to her good nature and learning ability of Bernedoodles.She is hypoallergenic and does not shed, making her a perfect pup to help people’s well-being without leaving her hair as evidence.Zena’s mother is a cowherd Bernese and his father is a poodle, and was one of 11 littermates.

When asked why the police department decided to adopt a therapy dog, Chief Desmond explained:

“About a year ago we received a donation from the International Family Church. They had no stipulations and told us to use the money as we saw fit and they didn’t want credit. And when we thought about how to use the money, we were aware that it was a donation from a community church. We spoke to Tewksbury Police Chief about Therapy Dogs, asked about their experience and decided to give it a try. Sam Reid has also done a lot of research on the matter.

The process of adopting a therapy dog ​​is different from adopting a family dog, as the leader explained:

“We researched the breeds and found that some are better than others. Samantha selected Zena from hundreds of breeds. Zena is hypoallergenic, she does not shed, which is good for children with allergies But for us the most important thing is temperament.Zena is good natured and intelligent, her learning ability is very high and she won’t get super fat but can reach 50-60 pounds.

Of course, therapy dogs require a lot of training, as Chief Desmond said.

“She’s a puppy, so we’re working on socialization and getting used to people. Six months is when the real training starts, and she starts going out on the town. Her training is tailored to her job, she’s going around children and people, so she has to learn to be approachable Her training is not as extensive as that of a police dog, but she will be involved.

According to the press release, Zena has started learning skills and commands that will come in handy in the force.

“Zena has already learned the basics quickly – ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, ‘touch’ (aka ‘come’) and is currently working on ‘stay’. Zena has already provided lots of smiles and cheers to her colleagues at station and looks forward to doing more.

Chief Desmond expects Zena to do quite well within the community.

“We hope this initiative, from what we understand, will be a great asset to the community and a great way to give back to the community. So schools, veterans, seniors, come say hello.

In a final quote from the press release, it is explained that Samantha Reif will be working closely with Zena and thanks are extended to the International Family Church for the donation that made this adoption possible.

“Zena’s manager, Samantha Reif, our in-house social worker, will attend all classes with Zena to create a respected relationship between the two. Zena and Samantha will be exploring different parts of town over the next year as part of Zena’s exposure and socialization training – if you see them be sure to stop by and say hello!

“We are grateful to be able to extend our services with a therapy dog. This initiative is made possible by a generous donation from the International Family Church.

Finally, the impact the WPD hopes Zena will have is as follows:

“The past two years have been difficult, so it’s no surprise that mental health issues are on the rise. It affected our community, and many others. And if Zena will be a new addition to the health and recovery unit that will help the community, then she will be worth it.

The Wilmington Police Department is being congratulated for their newest addition to the force, and Zena can be assured will make a wonderful addition to the city, bringing smiles wherever she goes.


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