Toys & Training

New remedy canine Finley brings stress aid to Palm Springs police station

In January, the Palm Springs Police Division welcomed its latest — and furriest — recruit: a lab retriever named Finley. 

However in contrast to most recruits, Finley will not be fixing crimes or making arrests. As an alternative, he has a number of essential jobs that he’s uniquely suited to, together with offering emotional help to employees and serving as a division ambassador to the group. 

Lt. Gustavo Araiza stated the latter position will see Finley dispatched with officers to group occasions, particularly these involving youngsters. 

“There’s lots of anti-police sentiment on the market,” Araiza stated. “So this helps bridge that hole on the subject of group relations.”

Finley, who’s about a-year-and-a-half outdated, got here to the division from the group Information Canines of the Desert, which was initially coaching him to be a information canine that might be paired with somebody who’s blind. 

Finley became a therapy dog for the Palm Springs Police Department in January.

Nonetheless, it was ultimately found that Finley was allergic to grass, which meant he may not function a seeing eye canine. 

However Finley’s coach, former Riverside County Sheriff’s Lt. Coby Webb, noticed one other potential path for him. So she reached out to the Spirit of Blue, a company devoted to selling the security of cops and the Palm Springs Police about having the division undertake him as a remedy canine. 

When he isn’t at a public occasion, Finley spends his days on the police station, the place Chief Andy Mills says he appears to gravitate towards “whoever has had essentially the most stress that day.” 

A Palm Springs police officer pets Finley, the department's new therapy dog.

“His harness squeaks and while you hear a squeak coming down the corridor he is coming,” Araiza stated. 

At evening, Finley lives on the dwelling of the division’s information supervisor, the place Araiza stated he enjoys taking part in along with his adopted siblings. 

Whereas Finley is already beloved within the workplace, having a virtually 100-pound canine round has taken a bit getting used to. 

“We’ve to regulate him a bit bit as a result of he does get a bit bit aggressive about eager to be petted,” he stated. “The dispatcher might be in the course of a 911 name and abruptly he is placing his nostril in making an attempt to get some consideration.” 

The division has additionally discovered to maintain squeaky toys away from Finley throughout the work day. 

“I used to be working patrol sooner or later and we heard squeaking over the radio,” Araiza stated with amusing. 

However whereas Finley brings loads of enjoyable and lightheartedness to the station, remedy canines also can play a significant position in essentially the most severe of conditions. Webb stated departments with remedy canines are getting increasingly optimistic suggestions about how they can assist crime victims when they’re current when victims should recount traumatic experiences to police. 

“It is altering that interview course of for individuals speaking,” she stated. 

Webb stated one other instance of the ability of remedy canines got here simply final week when the Backyard Grove, California Police Division flew two of its remedy canines to Uvalde, Texas, to assist officers who have been responding to and investigating the varsity capturing there.  

“They made a humongous distinction for the officers whereas they have been doing interviews and inquiry,” Webb stated. “That simply provides you an thought of what these canines are able to to make a scenario not as traumatic.” 

On Thursday, Finley was additionally available on the station because the division accepted a $3,500 test from native couple, Renee and Gordon Graham. That cash will go towards Information Canines of the Desert, Araiza stated, in order that they will practice one other information canine to take Finley’s place. 

Renee Graham, holding left side of check, and Gustavo Araiza, holding right side, hold a $3,500 check Renee and her husband, Gordon, donated to the Palm Springs Police. The money was to be given to Guide Dogs of the Desert to pay for the organization to train a new guide dog to replace Finley.

Graham, an legal professional who advises police departments about threat, stated that whereas he feels all departments may gain advantage from getting a remedy canine, the Palm Springs police can be notably deserving and admire of 1 because the division continues to grieve the lack of two of its personal officers in 2017. 

On Oct. 8, 2016, Gil Vega, 63, and Lesley Zerebny, 27, died whereas responding to a home disturbance name on Cypress Avenue in Palm Springs when a person opened hearth on them with an AR-15 rifle.

“These wounds for our individuals nonetheless haven’t healed lately, and this is only one extra manner technique of serving to individuals heal,” stated Mills. “In order that’s, that is very significant and I wasn’t right here for [their deaths] however for lots of the parents that have been it is a uncooked nerve to today.” 

Paul Albani-Burgio covers breaking information and the Metropolis of Palm Springs. Comply with him on Twitter at @albaniburgiop and through e mail at

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