LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – There’s a new deputy joining the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office, a therapy dog named Sierra.

Sierra, a 15-week-old Labrador Retrieve, will be training on socialization and obedience with the goal of being certified within a year. Once trained, Sierra will join the department’s Emotional Support Division.

“Sierra is a sweet dog who will help our staff as they deal with stressful situations and often encounter members of the public on one of the worst days of their life,” said Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi. “At the same time, she is here to comfort those people. We aim to go above and beyond for everyone we encounter, ranging from people being evicted to those being served with divorce papers, and Sierra is another tool for us to be able to calm a tense moment.”

The Sheriff’s office believes Sierra will be able to help diffuse stressful situation. The Hampden County Sheriff’s Civil Process Division serves papers, enforces evictions for the courts, and encounter many people in crisis asking for help.

“My hopes are for Sierra to help bring down the temperature in a room during difficult moments and be a soothing force for our staff, including our deputies who have to shoulder a lot as they go through the normal course of their work,” Chief Deputy Bobby Hoffman said.

Sierra comes from Connecticut and will be trained by Nina Valentino, the Sheriff’s primary dog trainer.

Local News

WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in 1953 by providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on X @WWLP22News, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.