Chocolate Lab provides comfort to police in N.B.
HALIFAX -- At just under a year old, Rosa, a chocolate Labrador Retriever, is the Kennebecasis Regional Police's youngest – and furriest – recruit.
"We are going through the whole puppy stage, and there's a few stories there,” says Kennebecasis Regional Police Chief, Wayne Gallant. “A few lunches that have gone missing – things like that."
However, Rosa’s mischievous puppy antics are quickly forgiven as she has quickly become part of the family.
"She comes in, and she does her rounds, and she welcomes everybody when they walk in the door,” says Corporal, Aaron Haines. “After that, she'll relax for a little bit, but for the most part, she's running around seeing everybody – typical dog, I guess."
And she is a typical dog – working towards an atypical job.
Rosa is in training to become an assisted therapy dog to help her human colleagues cope with the stress of being a police officer. Donated by the non-profit organization group, Canine Therapy for First Responders, Rosa is the only dog in Atlantic Canada to be raised and working directly with a police force towards therapy dog certification.
Police say her presence will provide tremendous aid to their team by helping officers deal with the daily stressors that can arise in their line of work.
“Being a positive presence in the workplace, having a positive impact when officers are experiencing difficult calls and those sorts of things,” says Gallant. “And we have had a few of those over 2019.”
In addition to being an assisted therapy dog, police say they also see a role for Rosa as a community policing dog.
"Really, the long, long-term goal would be that she be able to attend court with victims and do those sort of things,” says Haines. “So not just for us here at the office, which is her main purpose, but after that, it's the long term goal of helping out the public as well."
Rosa’s name also has a special meaning behind it, as it is a combination of the first two letters of the names of the two Fredericton officers killed in the line of duty in 2018 – Robb Costello and Sara Burns.
"It's just to recognize the two officers and let everybody know we won't forget them," says Haines.
Meanwhile, Rosa has a long road ahead of her, as training to become an assisted therapy dog can take years to complete. For now, the Kennebecasis Regional Police hope to take her Columbus Ohio in the near future for a one-week course to help her on her journey to living up to her full potential.