There is a new officer in the city of Indianapolis, and it’s a furry, four-legged officer named Gus! The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) introduced the newest member of the force on July 24, Monday.
Gus is a 10-month-old Australian mini Labradoodle and he is an official therapy dog for the police department.
According to IMPD, Gus will play a very important role in providing peer support to the department’s dedicated officers.
The police department shared, “In times of crisis, Officer Gus will be right there, offering a comforting paw and a wagging tail, providing much-needed relief and connection.”
“His presence will undoubtedly bring smiles and comfort to everyone in our police department,” IMPD continued.
The furry officer was sworn in to “provide comfort, love, and emotional support to all the officers in the IMPD, and the staff, and the members of IMPD family.”
Officer Gus has been training with the family, therapy, service and police K-9 trainer, the Ultimate Canine since November of 2022.
The IMPD shared that officer Gus has gone through “rigorous training” and knows over 30 obedience commands, and even knows how to snuggle!
According to Beth Johnson, senior trainer at the Ultimate Canine, “Gus knows what he’s doing”.
The senior trainer also spent three days working with officer Gus’ primary and secondary handler to learn how to properly handle the pooch.
The positive influence of therapy dogs is backed by science. And it highlights the impact their presence have on people’s mental wellness, especially after experiencing stressful and/or traumatic events.
Research also shows that the presence of therapy animals lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and anxiety, improves mood, and promotes feelings of support.
“It just kind of brings the stress level down and just creates kind of a whole different environment when a dog is present,” Johnson explains.
Just last month, New Haven Police swears in their first, official therapy dog, Officer Finn, to do the same thing as Officer Gus.