Sign In

Therapy Dog Reba

December 22, 2020

The Saginaw Police Department is getting a new K-9 to specialize in comforting cuddles instead of tracking down and stopping crime.

The Saginaw City Council unanimously approved an adoption agreement for a therapy dog for the Saginaw Police Department’s Victim Services Unit (VSU) during a virtual meeting on Monday, Dec. 21.

The agreement is with Michigan Doodle Rescue Connect (MDRC) in the amount of $1 to adopt Reba, a 5-month-old mini Australian shepherd. The rescue organization will cover any and all expenses related to the feeding, licensing, training and medical care of the canine, according to the agreement.

“At a time when so many are facing hardships and loss, we need to offer additional support to our victims and those impacted by traumatic crime,” said Police Chief Bob Ruth. “There couldn’t be a better time for this sort of resource in our community. I want to thank Michigan Doodle Rescue Connect for their partnership and support.”

The young pup spent the first few months of her life at the MDRC Ranch where she received basic training before recently being transitioned to her handler Lt. Dave Kendziorski.

“Reba will be training with me over the course of the next month or so to get fully adjusted to her new job and environment,” said Kendziorski.

Reba is expected work her way up to obtaining certification from Therapy Dog International. In the meantime, she will be assimilated into the Police Department’s physical building and will gradually meet department members. The pup will not receive the same training nor be used in the same manner as patrol K-9s, according to the City of Saginaw.

“Reba will be used to support victim advocacy and used in interviews with juvenile victims, with victims of domestic abuse, and on scene after traumatic events, in addition to being a regular uplifting force within the department,” said Kendziorski.

According to the Saginaw Police Department VSU, a therapy dog can greatly reduce heightened short-term anxiety following a critical situation with the added effect of assisting victims increase their sense of recall during their interactions with law enforcement, which in turn can increase the chances for a successful investigation and prosecution.

The department stated that program will assist all staff to cope with exposure to traumatic events, and support efforts aimed at increasing resilience to improve mental health and wellness.

MDRC released a statement explaining why Reba was the perfect dog for the job.

“As Reba approaches a person, her size will not be intimidating,” said MDRC. “Her tail is short so she won’t knock over a glass of water off a table, for example. These are important factors when working with therapy dogs.”

MDRC rescues, transports, and provides medical, dental, and mental health services to dogs who have been surrendered from the states of Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more