The department is set to bring a new therapy dog to campus on Feb. 17 with the help of the Paws and Stripes Comfort Dog Program, a program that trains dogs for departments and other organizations across the country.
Capt. Mark Tipton said the dogs are trained for a few months in Orlando, Florida, before officers train with them for a week and bring them back to their respective departments.
“They train and pick out the right dog for your needs,” he said, adding that he isn’t sure of the exact breed of the dog, which is a little over a year old.
As a therapy dog, she will meet with students when they need a break from the pressures and demands of college. She is not a trained K-9 and will not be assisting police in investigations or arrests.
While the new therapy dog may not be helping with law enforcement matters, Tipton said supporting students’ emotional well-being is a public safety matter.
“For a lot of these students, this is their first big step in life away from home. While they’re away from home, it gets stressful with finals and all the testing they’re going through and day-to-day stress,” he said, adding that her main job will be to “pick up somebody’s spirits from having a bad day.”
Tipton said he wants the campus community to submit their own name suggestions.
“I wanted to get the community involved with it because she’s an addition to our department,” he said. “So instead of just letting them name her down there or naming her in our department, I wanted to get everyone involved and excited about her — as excited as I was.”
Ideas for a name can be submitted to [email protected] The deadline for submissions is Monday, Feb. 3.
For more information, visit www.etsu.edu.