The newest addition to the Baltimore Police Department is a four-legged, wet-nosed recruit named Penny.
The eight-month-old mini Goldendoodle is the department’s first therapy dog and will be on call to comfort officers and supervisors, police announced Tuesday.
“What a therapy dog does is, they help de-stress situations, they lower blood pressure, they help with cardiovascular health,” Lt. Sarah Connolly said in a video. “They make you forget about whatever pain it is that you’re feeling.”
The puppy recently underwent basic training for therapy dogs, police said. She passed her Canine Good Citizen Test — part of a program that teaches good manners to dogs, according to the American Kennel Club's website.
Connolly said she knew she wanted Penny to become a therapy dog when she bought her about four months ago.
“She doesn’t jump, she doesn’t lick, she’s a dog that people really like to come and be around,” Connolly said. “They can’t help but go up and want to pet her and love on her, and she looks like a teddy bear.”
Other jurisdictions have made use of therapy dogs in areas related to crime. Anne Arundel and Harford counties earlier this year announced a therapy dog program to help comfort children who have to testify in court.