Toys & Training

Dighton Police consolation canine Oakie is companions with SRO Stephen Hathaway

DIGHTON — Oakie the neighborhood consolation canine has arrived in Dighton.

On Thursday, July 21, an enthusiastic, dog-loving crowd gathered within the convention room at Dighton Police Division headquarters, together with K9 Raider from the Somerset Police Division and K9 Marty from the East Windfall Police Division.

And simply previous midday Dave and Peggi Brogan of Boonefield Labradors offered the eight-week-old pup to College Useful resource Officer Stephen Hathaway.

Oakie, maybe overwhelmed by the lengthy trip from Southern New Hampshire and the large Gotcha Day to-do, snoozed on and off for many of the hour-long welcoming celebration, however did have an opportunity to get acquainted with Raider and Marty, fellow Boonefield labs, the DPD gang, members of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Workplace and some Dighton city officers and residents.

Oakie will profit from the all the remainder, although, as he and SRO Hathaway have been set to start out coaching as a workforce on Friday.

The Town of Dighton and the Dighton Police Department welcomed new comfort dog Oakie, an 8-week of black Lab, with a ceremony at the police station on Thursday, July 21, 2002. Oakie will be partnered with and reside with School Resource Officer Stephen Hathaway.

Oakie is beneath the command of and can reside with SRO Hathaway, and within the days and years forward will probably be a pleasant, reassuring police and neighborhood spokes-dog and certain attain superstar standing in Dighton in brief order.

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“Day by day he’ll come to work with me,” Hathaway mentioned. “You recognize, for now, in the course of the summer time we’ll be going to completely different occasions, completely different neighborhood outings and whatnot, right here in Dighton and the encircling cities.

“After which, in the course of the faculty yr he’ll be with me, primarily going to the faculties.”

The way it all started

Hathaway says curiosity in bringing a consolation canine to Dighton was piqued in the summertime of 2021 whereas he and Assistant SRO Alyssa Bennett have been attending coaching to develop into licensed as faculty useful resource officers.

Oakie, Dighton's new community comfort dog, in the arms of Dighon Police Department Assistant School Resource Officer Alyssa Bennett during a welcoming ceremony at the police dept. headquarters on Thursday, July 21, 2002.

“There have been a handful of consolation canines that have been there,” Hathaway mentioned. “So we acquired to speaking to those guys and gals which have the canines and so they mentioned that the change they see, by with the ability to convey the canine into the faculties, the change with these children is wonderful.” 

“Some children that normally have behavioral points, they know, ‘If, hey, I’m good on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I get to see the canine on Thursday.’ And it actually modifications their complete perspective. They are saying it’s been an ideal instrument for them.”

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As a member of the DPD and common at locals colleges, Hathaway hopes Oakie will probably be an ice-breaker between regulation enforcement and younger college students and construct constructive associations and connections for future encounters with regulation enforcement out locally.   

“So the canine is gonna be actually used as a approach to break down limitations, open traces of communication between us, the general public, the neighborhood, the youngsters within the colleges — , who doesn’t wish to come up and pet a canine whilst you’re in class?”

“Within the faculty setting, children usually tend to come up and say hello if I’m strolling a canine by the faculties. It’s only a useful gizmo that will also be used on the Council On Growing older, for the officers right here, with completely different conditions that come and go.”

Oakie, Dighton's new community comfort dog, at the police dept. headquarters on Thursday, July 21, 2002.Oakie, Dighton's new community comfort dog, is seen with K( Raider from Somerset and K( Marty from East Providence at the police dept. headquarters on Thursday, July 21, 2002.

Hathaway says consolation canines could be deployed to assist victims and bystanders in emergencies, to calm, reassure and distract from potential traumatic occasions unfolding within the second.

Consolation canines can befriend younger kids concerned in automobile accidents and home fires, for instance, to distract and reassure whereas dad and mom and caregivers might not be instantly out there or to quicken the transition from intense emotions of worry and pleasure to emotions of calm and security.    

One other Boonefield Labrador locally

Boonefield Labradors, based mostly in Southern New Hampshire, has donated three consolation canines within the rapid neighborhood of Dighton in simply the previous yr. Oakie is becoming a member of K9 Raider from Somerset, who works and lives with handler SRO Brendan Hague, and K9 Marty from East Windfall, paired with SRO Jay Rogers.

Since beginning their remedy/consolation canine program, the Brogans by Boonefield Labradors — named after their first lab, Boone — have donated 23 canines to police departments and neighborhood organizations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire.

At Oakie’s welcome celebration, the Brogans have been capable of reconnect with Raider and Marty, who have been litter mates and stay good buddies.

Dave says it began when his spouse Peggie began dabbling in remedy work with one in every of their pet canines, and once they realized the great remedy and luxury canines might do in police work and neighborhood work they acquired extra concerned with the work and coaching and commenced breeding and donating canines for communities in search of remedy or consolation canines.

“There’s positively a necessity for it, and so they fill that want,” Brogan mentioned.  

The canines endure primary coaching, with a heavy dose of socialization, earlier than heading to a brand new house; coaching as a remedy and/or consolation canine begins solely after the canine is positioned with a handler.

Peggie Brogan of Boonefield Labradors says hi to K9 Raider from Somerset and K9 Marty from East Providence, both Boonefield labs donated to respective police departments last year.

“It’s of their nature,” he mentioned, “and we’ve acquired 4 to 5 generations that we’ve been breeding, so we all know their temperaments. However as I mentioned, it’s numerous publicity, getting them out and uncovered to all completely different circumstances so you understand how they’re gonna react.

“We do as a lot as we will as much as 8 weeks previous,” Dave Brodan mentioned. “We expose them to crowds, convey them to the gun vary, in order that they don’t get frightened of these sorts of issues, in order that they get used to all completely different settings. We begin early… placing our fingers of their mouths and pulling their ears and squeezing their paws, in order that we all know after I youngster comes as much as them they’re simply gonna allow them to deal with them.”   

Bristol County Sheriff a giant supporter of remedy and luxury canines

Additionally in attendance on the welcoming occasion was Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson, who’s a believer and robust proponent of the usage of remedy and luxury canines as part of neighborhood policing.

From left, Dighton Police Lt. Shawn Cronin, Dighton Police Chief Robert MacDonald, Dighton Police School Resource Officer with Oakie, and Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson.

That is such an essential program, and it is an ideal program,” Hodgson mentioned. “In our communities to have the ability to have a remedy canine that may go in and instantly interact with folks, children who could also be anxious, or go to a scene, possibly a hearth scene, the place folks might have misplaced their house, to have remedy canines there and reply to these kinds of conditions is a good useful resource.”

Hodgson says Bristol County and the encircling areas have constructed “a coalition of remedy canines” in a position to reply to traumatic occasions and emergencies throughout city traces.

“We’ll all reply to the varied communities, whether or not it’s our neighborhood of another person’s, if want be, and we’ll convey as many remedy canines as we will presumably get there.”

In fact, colleges are a high middle of engagement.

“We’re discovering nice success within the colleges, the place the children can are available and truly play with these canines,” Hodgson mentioned. “However not solely does it put smiles on the children’ faces, it places smiles on the academics’ faces, offers them a shift in mindset.

“And we even convey them in to our services, for our employees, who’ve very troublesome jobs. However they don’t need us to let the canine depart, after all, they need the canine to remain longer. However it’s great to observe once they stroll in and utterly change somebody’s psychological state at that second.”

How one can assist and help Oakie

SRO Hathaway says he expects loads of neighborhood help within the months and years forward. As any pet, Oakie would require meals and treats, vet care and help distinctive to service canines serving in a regulation enforcement setting. 

To that finish, folks excited by supporting Oakie and the consolation canine program on the Dighton Police Division can go to to get all the most recent information on Oakie and his adventures, buy T-shirts, sweatshirts and journey mugs and/or contribute financial donations to be put immediately towards care and feeding.  

Taunton Every day Gazette employees author Jon Haglof could be reached at Assist native journalism by buying a digital or print subscription to The Taunton Every day Gazette at present.

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