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Cheshire Constabulary has welcomed its first ever well-being dog into the family.
Harley, a labradoodle, has been with his new owner PC Jane Tetlow from the youth engagement team since the beginning of January. The officer came up with the proposal for the four-legged new recruit after seeing how well it worked in other forces that have already realised the benefits of time well spent with a furry companion.
The pup is part funded by Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane’s Community Police Fund and Crimebeat, and has already begun his socialisation activities. He will begin his official training in February, which will run for 12 months. He will then become a fully-fledged well-being dog for the Constabulary.
Superintendent Laura Marler said: “As we’ve seen in the current climate dogs are an amazing emotional support system – if given the training, love and respect, exercise, stimulation and of course, food and treats.
“When a dog is beside you, you have a sense that they are giving you genuinely unconditional love, and that feels good. It creates a bond that enables us to open up. PC Tetlow has been a youth engagement officer for seven years and from experience, felt that bringing a well-being dog into a school setting could help us connect better with the children. Harley will also be on hand to help officers and staff in need of emotional support after a difficult shift or traumatic incident.”
However, inviting a puppy into your home is not for the faint-hearted and something PC Tetlow did not take lightly when she first thought of the idea. A lot of research has gone into the new role and how it can benefit the relationship between children and the police, and its benefits to the well-being of those Harley is there to help.
PC Jane Tetlow said: “Looking after a puppy comes with so much responsibility and dedication - and eyes in the back of your head for anything they might chew, eat, run off with, then there’s the toilet training in the middle of the night to avoid accidents, it’s a real commitment and a life-long one at that. Harley will have an important job to do helping our young members of the community and our officers and staff. We too have an important job in making sure he’s happy, healthy and thriving in his new role. We hope he thoroughly enjoys his new life.”
PCC David Keane said: “I’m pleased that this is one of the first projects I’ve funded from my Community Police Fund which provides dedicated grant funding for all 122 policing communities and 10 local police units in Cheshire to make every community safer. When PC Tetlow came to me with the proposal of using part of the Community Police Fund to bring Harley on board, I knew that it was fantastic opportunity for the Constabulary to deepen its good relationship with young people. It also embraces my commitment in looking after the mental health of staff and officers who have such challenging and often difficult roles. I look forward to hearing more about Harley supporting and educating young people, officers and staff. I wish Harley and PC Tetlow well in their new partnership.”
You can follow Harley on Instagram @harleyPTD