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Meet the 2 new police pups bringing healing, support and therapy to Colorado law enforcement agencies

Two Colorado law enforcement agencies have added extra paws to the force this week with the addition of two therapy dogs bringing emotional support and healing to the community.
Posted: 12:57 PM, Feb 29, 2024
Updated: 2024-02-29 15:08:55-05
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Two Colorado law enforcement agencies have added extra paws to the force this week with the addition of two therapy dogs.The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office announced this week the addition of Leo, a 3-month-old Mini Bernedoodle, as a new senior resource puppy to the force.

Leo was sworn in by Sheriff Darren Weekly on Wednesday and will spend his time working with older residents, said Dougco in a social media post.

Leo, which stands for ‘law enforcement officer’ got his name through a vote by nearly 4,000 members of the public, said Dougco.

Leo will work side-by-side with Douglas County Senior Resource Deputy Ryan Falkner, who came up with the idea.

“There are very few Senior Resource Officers in the nation who focus on the older adult population, and none has a Senior Community K9 that we have identified. The primary focus of LEO will be to help create positive relationships between DCSO deputies and older adults,” said Dougco in a Facebook post.

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Leo was sworn in by Sheriff Darren Weekly on Wednesday and will spend his time working with older residents, said Dougco in a social media post.

Leo will join Falkner at different community events and will be trained as an emotional support dog.

“As soon as we met LEO, we knew he would be an excellent fit for our community,” said Weekly. “Not only will he be a comforting presence for our senior residents, but also a testament to Deputy Ryan's dedication to serving our aging population with empathy and understanding,” said Douglas County Sheriff Darren Weekly.

Leo, a rescue dog, came to the force from Colorado Animal Care Foundation in Parker.

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Castle Rock Police Department also brought in a new pup to its force this week with the addition of Buddy, an English Labrador, who joins CRPD as Colorado’s first crisis response police therapy dog.

Buddy will join CRPD officers Tom O’Donnell and clinician Kalie Douberly to help people who are experiencing a mental health crisis, said the department in a release.

“Together, they work to help those individuals emotionally regulate, complete clinical assessments and provide recommendations for the most appropriate level of care to divert them from hospitals and jail,” said the department.

Buddy comes to the force from ConnorsK9 - P.A.W.S., a Castle Rock-based nonprofit founded by Michael Connors.

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Leo, which stands for ‘law enforcement officer’ got his name through a vote by nearly 4,000 members of the public, said Dougco.

Connors has been training Buddy since the pup was only 8 weeks old in a program that stretched 7 days a week over 7 months, said CRPD.

“Buddy has a PAWSome temperament, pun intended, with an intuitive response to stress. His ability to ground those in mentally struggling times and deescalate stressful situations is essential for what his job will be while working with Officer O’Donnell and Clinician Douberly,” said Connors in a news release.

“These skills will allow his handlers the ability to grant their community a calming presence during complicated times. Buddy demonstrated confidence, eagerness and excitement when granted opportunities to work in challenging environments, and over the past several months of training, he’s shown daily that his skills continue to grow.”

Connors founded the nonprofit after serving in the military for over a decade.

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“After serving in the military for over a decade before medically retiring, Connors searched for a new way of serving. He began training assistance dogs and created P.A.W.S. to fill a void for veterans and first responders when it came to mental health,” said CRPD.

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Buddy comes to the force from ConnorsK9 - P.A.W.S., a Castle Rock-based nonprofit founded by Michael Connors.

The Castle Rock Police Department said Buddy will be permanently paired with the co-responder team, which is believed to be a first in the state.

“The number of calls for service involving people suffering from a mental health crisis has grown exponentially since our CRT program started,” said Officer O’Donnell in the release. “Throughout his training and first weeks on the job, Buddy has already proven to be an invaluable resource for our team. People can immediately sense his unconditional love, which makes them more receptive to us and the resources we can offer.”

Buddy joins Officer O’Donnell making the pairing Castle Rock Police Department’s fourth police therapy dog team, said CRPD.

Meet the 2 new Colorado police pups bringing healing, support and therapy


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