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A dog, named River, becomes the first therapy dog at a police station in Kent, UK after being fired from her job as a guide dog because of her squirrel-chasing habit.
The naughty five-year-old Labrador was fired from her job as a guide dog because she just couldn’t let go her love for chasing squirrels.
However, according to The Mirror, the pooch’s strong CV and calm nature landed her the perfect job for a brand new pilot project with the police.
Currently, River works to “soothe anxious and vulnerable people brought into custody” at a police station in Kent. And she has been doing this since December 2019.
But before her job at the Kent Police, the good girl was certified as a therapy dog by the Pets as Therapy organization in 2016 and has spent time assisting children at a special needs school.
River did a spectacular job that the school decided to get their own therapy dog. This opened the door for River to take on a new challenge with Kent Police.
The Mirror reports that Kent Police saw River’s potential and tested her, which she all passed with flying colors.
Sergeant Ian Sutton of Kent Police, who coordinated the custody canine initiative, tells The Mirror, “We are often dealing with people in crisis and although their behavior has resulted in arrest, they could be suffering with depression, anxiety or mental illness.”
He further explains, “Young people may find themselves in custody too and in some cases they are scared and daunted by the experience, whilst others may have difficulty in communicating. Being detained can exacerbate these issues and we are committed to ensure that police custody is a safe and supportive environment for both police, staff, and detainees.”
Sutton says that River has had a “notable positive impact” on those she spent time with and that the general atmosphere in custody is a lot better when she is around.
“This allows staff and officers to use their time more effectively rather than diffusing situations,” Sutton says.
It is also revealed that River is well-taken care of. She has a handler that always watches her, has access to water and food, and gets regular breaks.
River is proof that “when one door closes, another opens”. And we’re guessing that any door that didn’t have squirrels would work for this mischievous pooch!