“BLUE” JOINS THE DEPARTMENT
The Appleton Police Department recently added a member to our nationally recognized Volunteer Program.
“Blue”, a 12 week-old Golden Doodle has been introduced to members of the Appleton Police Department during the past several weeks. He has a “rookie” status with the department; requiring training and certification, like all officers, before being out on his own. If “Blue” passes all of his training, he should be “on-duty” early next spring.
Following his training and certification as a therapy dog in the Fox Valley Humane Association (FVHA) Therapy Dog Program, “Blue” will be on-duty as the only known “station dog” in Wisconsin. What makes him unique from other therapy dogs is his primary purpose of improving the wellness of Appleton Police Department personnel. From the few visits “Blue” has made to the department, we expect him to freely roam the department, in search of treats or an occasional nap in the many dog beds sure to appear around the building.
“Blue” will occasionally be used as a therapy dog in the community; comforting victims, help grieving children, assisting those with emotional or mental health conditions and visiting schools, libraries, and other community events.
“Blue” is from Eagle Valley Puppies of Menomonie. He is being provided at no cost to the department or City of Appleton by Chief Thomas’ family.
Statement from Chief Thomas:
“Therapy dogs have been around for around 40 years. It has been proven that they have a significantly positive impact on our emotional wellness, our social and cognitive functioning, and can even improve our physical healing.”
“All of our employees, sworn and civilian, are caring and compassionate people; subjected to seeing and dealing with things no human should have to deal with. The daily stress and workload, gruesome crime scenes, autopsies, working with children who have been abused and neglected, while remaining constantly hypervigilant can be destructive.”
“We need to make sure we are taking care of our community caretakers; protecting their hearts and minds, by making their wellness a priority, no less than that of taking care of and protecting our community. Our APD employees can’t serve and protect our community to the best of their abilities, if they are not emotionally and physically healthy.”
“Our profession has learned the hard way that it is not just the significant events which can cause emotional trauma and long term issues; but is also the daily challenges we face, sometimes called “1,000 small cuts”, which have the biggest impact on all of our employees. “Blue” is another resource, which we hope can help to protect our employees from these cuts and improve their overall wellness.”
Some of the proven benefits of therapy dogs are:
Physical Benefits: Lowers blood pressure, reduces heart rates, and stimulates adults and children to be more physical.
Emotional Benefits: People have higher levels of “feel good” chemicals dopamine and serotonin. They help regulate mood, combat depression, reduce anxiety and allow us to remain calm in stressful situations.
Social Benefits: Helps bring people, especially children who may have suffered a traumatic experience, out of their shell. Provides a safe avenue for them; petting animals can be both comforting and calming. They don’t judge us and they are always affectionate.
Cognitive Benefits: Reduces stress and anxiety, which improves a person’s decision making abilities, helps us make rational decisions and improves our self-awareness. They instantly react to our moods and give immediate feedback. They are trusting and loyal.
To arrange an interview with Chief Thomas, please contact Sgt. Lund at (920)832-5509.