GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Greenfield Police said goodbye to one of the first police comfort dogs in the nation Tuesday. Retired Greenfield Officer Clarence was put to rest after a sudden illness.

Capitol Police are expected to fly a flag over the U.S. Capitol Tuesday in honor of Officer Clarence, recognizing the service he has given to this country.

A procession of cruisers escorted retired Officer Clarence to the Brookside Animal Hospital, a final stop for a Saint Bernard who has shaped policing as we know it.

“When I needed a hand I got a paw.”

Acting Greenfield Police Chief William Gordon
Officers from several police department in Massachusetts joined the Greenfield Police Department Tuesday to remember Officer Clarence, one of the nation’s first comfort dogs.

Gordon said Officer Clarence helped him with his PTSD, that’s when they realized this dog could help other first responders, “We could see that he had this innate way to see who had the most stress and the most anxiety and he would gravitate to those people.”

Officer Clarence joined the force in 2012. Not only helping Greenfield, but also responding to some of the darkest moments over the last decade. Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon Bombings and the Las Vegas shooting were just a few of the many times Officer Clarence was there to offer support.

“We’re talking 10 years after Sandy Hook and people still come up to me and I say, ‘I remember Clarence!’ And that’s what Clarence was about, was the rainbow in a dark storm,” said Gordon.

He also lived a full life, seeing much of the country and coming face to face with people like President Joe Biden. In his final moments, Officer Clarence was able to see the impact he’s had as other police departments from western Massachusetts paid the respects, bringing along their own comfort dogs.

“When they see other police comfort dogs in the nation and they remember that Clarence is the one who started that. And in every one of those police comfort dogs is a little bit of Clarence,” said Gordon.

Office Clarence retired this year. He was put to rest at 11 years old.