Puppy rescued from squalid kennel joins NH police department, becomes K9 officer

GREENLAND, N.H. (WHDH) - A puppy that was rescued from a squalid kennel in Bradford, New Hampshire, earlier this summer was introduced as the Greenland Police Department’s newest K9 officer on Thursday.

Willow, a golden retriever mix, along with 100 other dogs and puppies, were seized in June in connection with an animal cruelty and neglect investigation.

Willow was cared for by staffers at the Pope Memorial SPCA in Concord after the rescue operation.

The shelter decided to donate Willow to the police department after hearing officers were interested in employing a comfort dog.

“While Willow will assist the department with community engagement and public relations, the foundation of the program is built around mental health, victim’s advocacy and trauma,” the department said in a Facebook post. “With the ongoing challenges of addressing mental health in the state, truly serving the victims and witnesses of crimes and crashes, and trying to bridge the police officer-citizen relationships, utilizing comfort dogs is spreading across New Hampshire and the country.”

Several police departments in the Granite State, including Concord, Franklin, and the University of New Hampshire, have already adopted similar programs.

Willow will attend “intense” training over the next several months and the department says it hopes to have her “comfort ready” by the spring.

Police say Willow will live at the department most of the time, with Lieutenant Dave Kurkul and Admin Eli Tretter serving as her primary handlers.

In the meantime, residents can expect to see Willow around town as she learns the “lay of the land.”

 

(Copyright (c) 2019 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)