New therapy dog team added to Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

Hampden County

LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department introduced a new therapy dog team in a news conference Tuesday morning.

The new Emotional Support Division of the department is made up of three staff members who were paired with three therapy dogs in training.

According to a news release sent to 22News, the team was added in an effort to boost the spirits of the staff and to relieve anxiety and tension from a situation.

The new dogs are the following:

  • Molly: A 4-year-old lab who is loving and loves being pet. She is handled by Stephanie Fahey, a mental health clinician with the department since 2017. Molly will be helping Stephanie with group and individual therapy with the men and women in their care
  • Tess: A 4-year-old lab considered a sweet dog who seems to love everyone she encounters. Tess partners with Maribeth Moss, a registered nurse with the department since 2007. Tess will bring comfort to the people in their care when they are getting medical treatment and procedures, as well as the staff
  • Jazz: A 2-year-old hound that came from Fluvanna County, Virginia. She was found as a stray there and lived a few months at a shelter before being selected for the program. She is very sweet and loves meeting new people. She is handled by Trudy Wagner, a member of the Training Department since 2014. Jazz is here primarily for the staff and will hopefully be involved in community-based programs once COVID-19 restrictions allow for such interactions

“These animals have the ability to decrease the tension in a room, and relieve anxiety with just their presence. It really is remarkable. Expanding the team of therapy dogs just made sense given our evolving role in the community and the various groups of people we engage,” Sheriff Cocchi said

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