ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) has a new and unique member.
Tuesday morning, Sheriff Tyler Brown swore in Rex, a 10-week-old black Labrador retriever puppy. He's the department's first therapy dog and will be teamed up with School Resource Officer Deputy John Gray.
The pair will be assigned to all the elementary schools in the Littleton Public School District (LPS) within Arapahoe County.
> Above video: Therapy dog that supports an Arvada school.
Gray and Rex will work with students with special needs, be a comfort to students in crisis or during times of stress and help those who suffer from anxiety or depression.
“Mental health is an ongoing concern, particularly with our youth. There is a chemical change in the brain that reduces the stress when people pet and interact with a dog,” said Gray. “We hope that Rex will help students feel comfortable and safe in school and bring a smile to their faces.”
Over the next year, Rex will be training in basic obedience. When he turns one, he’ll attend an A.K.C. (American Kennel Club) good citizen class and an intensive class to become an A.K.C. Certified Therapy Dog.
“We are so proud of this partnership we have with Littleton Public Schools to implement this new therapy dog program and make it a great success,” said Brown. “We look forward to this new and exciting way to work with the LPS School District.”
Gray has been with the sheriff’s office for 11 years and assigned to the SRO unit for six years.
He’s currently assigned to elementary schools within the district.
He is also a member of the SWAT Negotiation Team and works with citizens in crisis. He’s looking forward to incorporating Rex into many new and exciting programs for LPS schools.
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