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Puppy joins N.B. police force ‘to improve mood and morale’ of officers and staff

Newest member of the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force there to lend a helping paw
The newest member of the Kennebecasis Regional Police likely won't be sniffing out criminals. But she will be there to offer a helping paw when officers need her. Tim Roszell has more on a program that's believed to be a first of its kind in Canada.

The newest member of the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force won’t likely be sniffing out criminals.

But she will be there to offer a helping paw when officers need her.

RoSa is a four-month-old chocolate Labrador retriever. While she’s just a puppy, she’s got a pretty big job ahead of her as a therapy dog for officers and staff.

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“Police work is tough,” said KRPF Chief Wayne Gallant. “It’s difficult. We experience some difficult calls and having a dog like RoSa around is something that improves the mood and morale of all of our employees.”

RoSa’s name holds extra significance for police. It combines the first two letters of the names of the two Fredericton Police officers, Constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns, who were killed in the line of duty along with two civilians last August

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RoSa was donated to the force and recently moved in with her handlers, Corporal Aaron Haines and Corporal Lindsey Mott-Haines.

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“She’s just a lovable dog,” Aaron Haines began. “(She) loves to be around people, lots of kisses, the usual puppy faces. You can tell she’s fitting in very well at home and here.”

The corporals will work over the next eighteen months with Bev Wells from the group Canine Therapy for First Responders in order to complete RoSa’s certification.

“She needs to be well-mannered and calm,” Wells said. “Obviously, as a puppy right now, calm is not a thing. But she needs to like being around people, which she’s showing already.”

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“As soon as she walks in the door, you can see people at the end of the hallway really excited just to see her come through the doors,” Aaron Haines said.

“Again, (she) already brings a smile to people’s faces now and I’m sure, unfortunately when the time does come that she’s needed for that, she’ll do just that,” he added.

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Gallant hopes RoSa can eventually become involved in community programs, and even provide therapy to victims of crime.