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Comfort dog joins Concord police ranks

  • Liberty the yellow lab will be joining Concord police as the city's first comfort dog. She reports for duty in the spring. City of Concord—Courtesy

  • Liberty the yellow lab will be joining Concord police as the city's first comfort dog. She reports for duty in the spring. City of Concord—Courtesy



Monitor staff
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Concord’s newest employee was showered with plenty of praise, attention and belly rubs from city councilors and staff alike Tuesday night.

Liberty, a four-month-old yellow Labrador who will be serving as Concord police’s first comfort dog, was introduced to the city during the council’s regular meeting. She is expected to report for duty next spring.

“I wanted to talk to you about our newest recruit,” Concord police Chief Bradley Osgood told councilors, gesturing to the pup in the audience after giving a staffing update.

“...If you saw 10 minutes ago, Liberty was a bit of a local celebrity here tonight,” he later added.

Indeed, it was hard to ignore Liberty, who spent the evening charming city staff and councilors by nuzzling hands and flopping over for a belly rub at every opportunity.

But her job is much more than being cute – as a comfort dog, Liberty’s role is to comfort trauma victims in the field or the police station, as well as to “maintain morale for officers and the families who may be facing difficulties,” a city press release said. She is not meant to replace a traditional police K9 that tracks suspects or locates drugs.

Osgood said Liberty will be assigned to live with one particular officer, but at least three others will be trained to handle her. 

She comes to the city through Hero Pups, an Exeter-based nonprofit that connects therapy dogs with veterans and first responders founded by Laura Parker. Hero Pups rescued Liberty out of Pennsylvania and will be overseeing her training.

Osgood said training, spaying and acquisition of Liberty will probably cost up to $5,000. A nonprofit has stepped in to cover those costs, he said.

Liberty may be the first police comfort dog in the state, Osgood said. Concord will model its program after the Hawthorne, California police department’s program.

Those curious to meet Liberty will have their next chance at Intown Concord’s Halloween Howl later this month.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)