The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has a new trainee. He has four legs, a wet nose and he’ll soon be tasked with helping first responders cope with the stresses of the job.
Detective Brandon Talbott was tasked with finding Duke, a seven-month-old Border Collie and cattle dog mix.
“Just their presence is therapeutic to be there so it makes sense, not only at home, but at work that it would be beneficial too,” said Talbott.
He took Duke in at 11 weeks old and has been working with the dog on becoming a calm presence for sheriff’s deputies.
“This dog, here, stood out as one that was attentive to people,” Talbott said. “He was paying attention to what’s happening around. All the other dogs were playing and being puppies and he was more interested in being there, being cuddly.”
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At this point, the collie mix knows simple commands like sit, lay down and stay. Talbott told us a group in Prineville called Battle Buddies has helped in the training process so far. Battle Buddies trains dogs for veterans, but they saw an opportunity to help with Duke, and did.
Employees at the sheriff’s office are already seeing the benefits.
“When deputies go on hard calls, and they come back and Duke’s there,” said Chief Civil Deputy Debbie Miles. “I think it gives everybody a little bit of peace and calm.”
Whether it’s the stress of everyday life or work, Duke is happy to offer a helping paw.
“He kind of has a sense about him that he can tell when somebody needs somebody,” said Miles. “I recently just lost my dad, and he kind of hung around me for a while.”
While Duke is not a fully trained therapy dog yet, Detective Talbott hope he will be soon.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies will not be the only ones being comforted by Duke. Talbott said the end goal is to also offer support to Jefferson County firefighters, to witnesses of a crime and to children impacted by a crime or giving a statement.
Talbott said he hopes to put Duke into a class at Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.