What is a comfort dog?
Comfort dogs play a different helping role than service dogs and emotional support animals. They aren't trained to work for a specific handler. Rather, these are dogs that - with their human teammate (often the dog's owner) - work in clinical settings, such as hospitals, mental health institutions, hospice clinics, schools, and nursing homes, where they provide comfort, affection, and even love in the course of their work. Comfort dogs are trained to be comfortable in new environments and to interact with different people. They must have a calm temperament, be unfazed by unfamiliar noises and movements, be comfortable being handled, and love people. They are essentially Therapy dogs, but they "work" instead of Volunteer.
Amherst, MA Police Department
Officer Auggie was sworn into the ranks of the Amherst, MA Police Department on August 22, 2022. Auggie is the department's second Comfort Dog. Auggie, along with his partner, Office Bill Laramee work as the department's community outreach team. Auggie and Officer Laramee are an active and visible part of the department and spend much of their day out in the community making positive connections. As young officer Auggie is still in the process of learning his surroundings and his role within the department, the goal is to be able to help assist victims of crimes, provide grief management support and support first responders in the aftermath of critical incidents.
University of Rhode Island
Lindsey Anderson is a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of the Psychological Consultation Center (PCC) at the University of Rhode Island. Lindsey has been working on innovative approaches to supporting community mental health needs and recently been awarded 2 SAMHSA grants to support her work. Basil is an exciting and beloved new member of the PCC clinical staff (and broader URI community). She makes visits to students, faculty and staff across campus as well as provides support and comfort to clients seeking care in the PCC. Basil and Lindsey have been working together since September 2022.
Middlesex County, MA District Attorney's Office
Bear is comfort dog certified by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Since 2021, Bear has spent his days in the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office providing comfort to attorneys, victim witness advocates and staff. He regularly attends community events and loves to visit with young people across the county. As part of his role in the District Attorney’s office, he works alongside staff in and out of the courthouse and is available to help aid victims of crime and respond after a critical incident with the District Attorney and staff to provide assistance at police stations and in the community.
Bear is a gentle giant, and always looking to pull staff in the office away from their desks for a quick game of fetch. His playful and happy demeanor have brought great joy across the 54 cities and towns of Middlesex County.
On his days off Bear enjoys being outside and has yet to meet a body of water he doesn’t like.
Bristol, RI Police Department
K9 Brody is the Department's first Therapy/Comfort dog in training. Watch for Brody and his handler Officer Keith Medeiros at schools, libraries, senior centers and community events.
Reading, MA Police Department
Cooper is one of two therapy/comfort dogs donated by Boonefield Labradors to the Reading Police Department in the spring of 2022. Cooper works with his handler SRO Brian Lewis and is assigned to the Reading Memorial High School. Although he is primarily at RMHS Cooper is an active member of the Reading Community and can be found at both school and community events creating positive connections and smiles to all who meet him. Cooper is working hard towards getting his therapy dog title. When Cooper is off duty, he lives with SRO Lewis and his family. Follow Cooper on his Instagram page to see what he is up to. https://www.instagram.com/cooper_the_comfort_dog
Williston, VT Police Department
The Williston Police Department Comfort Dog Team consists of K9 Duke, a 2-year-old English Labrador, and Ofc Matt Cohen, a 12-year veteran of the Williston Police Department. The comfort dog team routinely provides victim support services, first responder support services and builds positive community relations between the Williston Police Department and community members. The comfort dog team was the first of its kind in the State of Vermont and is on the leading edge in changing how police services are brought to community members.
K9 Duke even has his very own children's book!
Douglas, MA Police Department
Finn is a certified Comfort/Therapy Dog and 3-year veteran of the Douglas Police Department in Massachusetts. He arrived in January 2020 as a puppy and has grown into his role admirably, working alongside his handler, School Resource Officer Brett Fulone since that time. Finn was featured on “Good Morning America’s Pet of the Week” segment in March 2020, and has been a rock star ever since. He is closely followed by many fans all over social media. Finn spends much of his time in the Douglas schools visiting students and faculty alike. He enjoys making appearances at public and social events, and is often invited to visit people and places outside of Douglas as well. Finn loves going to work and enjoys interacting with children and people of all ages.
Greenfield, MA Police Department
Officer Frank works at the Greenfield Police Department (MA) with his handler Officer Llewelyn. Frank is
currently in training and loves meeting new people. Frank spends times at the local schools, nursing
homes, and helps de-escalate patrols calls.
Franks instagram https://www.instagram.com/greenfieldpolicek9
Lunenberg, MA Police Department
In 2018 Hank began working for the Lunenburg Police Department. Hank, along with Officer McNamara, are assigned as the School Resource Officers for the Lunenburg Public School System. Hank’s main job is to help bridge the gap between the students and the School Resource Officer. Hank was so successful that the class of 2019 donated an office for him and designated it “Hank’s Hangout”. The School Resource Officers office is now a place where the students come to relax and de-stress. In addition to working as the School Resource Officer, Hank also plays a pivotal role in the department’s community outreach efforts. Hank has also helped provide support to first responders all over New England and beyond. This includes being deployed to the United States Capitol in 2021 and 2022.
Howe Manning School, Middleton, MA
Howie is the very first comfort dog at the Howe Manning School in Middleton, MA. Howie lives with Principal Jeff Bryson, and his family Jenn, Hannah and Theo. Howie works full time at Howe Manning with Jeff, where he provides comfort and joy to the students and staff. His day consists of greeting students in the morning when they get dropped off, visiting classrooms, and laying in front of the nurse's office hoping for a belly rub from anyone that passes by. You can follow Howie on his journey by joining his Facebook group, Howie's Howe Manning Journey
Massachusetts State Police
Crisis Response K9 Luna assists first responders that were affected by stressful or traumatic situations that may have caused them any stress or anxiety. Luna specializes in helping first responders in the aftermath of critical incidents, mental health support, critical incident stress management, and police initiatives.
Seekonk, MA Police Department
Mac is the first comfort dog in the history of the Seekonk, MA Police Department. Mac works with his handler, School Resource Officer Kevin Nagle in all four of the towns public schools. Mac is currently working towards completing his training and certifications. Follow Mac on the Seekonk Police Department's Facebook page.
Montague, MA Police Department
Mack works with the Montague Police Department as a comfort dog. His birthdate is January 20th 2020. Mack is assigned to School Resource Officer Dan Miner. The two work in the Gill/ Montague Regional School District. Mack goes to school every day with SRO Miner. Mack has attended a school prom as well as a homecoming dance. Mack is definitely loved by everyone in the school district and community. The program is funded from donations made by community members.
Massachusetts State Police
Margaux has retired from our breeding program and now works with the Massachusetts State Police in the Employee Assistance Unit responding to crisis situations with her handler, Trooper Viscardi. When she's not out in the community she can be found wandering the halls in the school district, visiting with people, and sharing love and happiness. When Margaux is off duty she enjoys long walks with her family.
East Providence, RI Police Department
Marty works for the East Providence, RI Police Department as a Certified Therapy Dog with his handler, Sargeant Jay Rogers. Look out for Marty at schools and community events. Follow Marty on Facebook; EPPD Marty and Instagram; eppd_marty
Ashburnham, MA Police Department
Merle retired from our breeding program and now lives and works in dual roles. He began working in the Ashburnham/Westminster school district in 2019 with his dad, Nate. He is a registered comfort/therapy dog. Working together as a team, Merle and Nate cover school and community events.
In 2022 Merle was certified with his Mom, Brittany and the two of them are in the Student Services Department in the Ashland Public Schools a couple days a week. The students and Staff love having him in Ashland!
Bedford, NH Police Department
Mischka joined the Bedford, NH Police Department in 2021. She and Officer Whitney Mansfield are one of our best success stories. We all knew Mischka would be an excellent comfort dog, we just didn't expect it to happen to quickly. So, in between litters, Whitney and Mischka worked like crazy to get trained and certified. They are very active in Bedford and well known about town from the coffee shops to schools and everywhere in between.
Amherst College, MA Police Department
Moose, the first Comfort Dog at Amherst College Police Department in Massachusetts began her career in 2022 as an 8 week old puppy. She and her handler Detective Marleigh Straight are training to become a certified therapy team. Moose enjoys meeting new people every day across campus.
Dighton, MA Police Department
Oakie and his handler, School Resource Officer Stephen Hathaway, have been working together
since June of 2022 for the Dighton Police Department. Oakie is the departments first K9 of any sort and
he was welcomed with open arms. Oakie spends his days primarily at the Dighton Middle and
Elementary Schools. Here, Oakie greets students in hallways, attends classroom visits, hangs out in the
guidance office, Monthly breakfast with “Oakies Students of The Month” and of course High-Five
Fridays. However, it is not uncommon for Oakie to find himself at the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High
School or the Bristol County Agricultural High School. When Oakie is not at one of the schools in town he
finds himself participating all types of community events. Oakie and SRO Hathaway attend most town
sponsored events such as most sporting events, at the council on aging, annual “Lights On” ceremony,
Art Festival and he is a routine visitor, and favorite, at Homes For Our Troops.
When not at work, Oakie lives with Stephen, his wife Jessica and their daughter Hannah who is 3
Years old. Hannah and Oakie are inseparable on weeknights and on the weekends. Oakie frequently
finds himself being a jungle-gym and he loves every moment of it! Hannah lets Oakie participates in all
of her tea parties and lets him lay amongst her dolls as she lays them down to “sleep”.
Besides playing with his best buddy Hannah, Oakie loves to play fetch, run through leaf piles, run
in the snow and of course take plenty of naps. Oakie finds himself usually traveling everywhere with
Stephen and Jess and everyone always comments on his behavior and looks. Oakies least favorite part of
the job is vacations. Oakie misses his routines of seeing everyone at work, especially playing fetch with
Detective Richards in the station.
Oakie has truly changed the way the Town of Dighton, and the surrounding City and Towns view
the Police. With a shake of his butt, his tail is soon to follow and he immediately wins over everyone’s
Fitchburg, MA State University Police Department
K9 Odin is Fitchburg State University Police Department’s first Therapy/Comfort dog! You can find Odin and his handler Sergeant Erin Morreale attending campus events, while providing comfort and smiles to the campus community.
Follow Odin on Facebook: Fitchburg State University Police | Fitchburg MA | Facebook
Town of Hillsborough, NH
Olive is the certified Therapy Dog for the Office of Youth Services for the Town of Hillsborough along side her mom and handler, Director Chelsea since 2018. Olive provides comfort dog services to the at-risk youth who attend Project Genesis Community Youth Center and community members for both Hillsborough and Cheshire counties in NH.
Olive is best known for her ability to “help the helpers” and can often be found visiting her local police, fire, and court room staff all throughout Cheshire and Hillsborough County.
Somerset, MA Police Department
Raider is the Somerset Police Department’s first Comfort Dog and works side by side with Patrolman/SRO Brendan Hague. Raider’s primary job is to provide comfort for all of the students and staff throughout the Somerset Public Schools District.
Reading, MA Police Department
Rusty is a comfort dog in training for the Reading Police Department. He is one of two Boonefield Labs in the department, along with Cooper. Rusty is assigned to School Resource Officer Matt Vatcher in the Middle and Elementary Schools and provides support for the community as needed for the Police Department. Rusty absolutely loves meeting new people and swimming!
Follow Rusty on Instagram! @rpd_rusty
Boston Center for Memory, Newton, MA
Walter is Boston Center for Memory’s (BCM) first therapy/comfort dog in training. BCM is a multi-specialty diagnostic, treatment, and research center for patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Walter provides affection, comfort and support to BCM's patients, their families, caregivers and staff. He brings so many smiles and joy and loves meeting new people.
Follow Boston Center for Memory across all social media pages to see Walter on his training journey. Follow Walter on Instagram and Facebook, and look for updates on Boston Center for Memory’s website.
Dennis, MA Police Department
Officer Kathleen Keating and K9 Winnie (age 2) work for the Dennis Police Department
in Dennis, Massachusetts. They are the first Comfort Dog Team for the department. Officer Keating is
currently assigned as the Court Liasion Officer and has been with the department for 22 yrs. During her
time with the Dennis Police, Officer Keating has held various positions such as community policing
officer and detective. Most recently she and Winnie have become members of the Dennis Police
Department’s Peer Support Team where Winnie will be used to provide comfort and support to victims,
survivors and first responders after traumatic events. The Comfort Dog Team will also provide comfort
in courts, schools and at various community events.
To learn more about this Comfort Dog Team please follow them on Facebook at DPD Winnie and on
Instagram at dpd_winnie.
Cournoyer Funeral Home, Jaffrey, NH
Ziva is the very first certified therapy dog for Cournoyer Funeral Home in Jaffrey, NH and is continuing her exposure at the funeral home and out in the community.
She loves people and is a very exuberant greeter! It is their hope that she will bring comfort to those grieving families who request her in this new and very gentle way.