TEWKSBURY — Police Chief Ryan M. Columbus is pleased to share that a second-grade student at the Heath Brook Elementary School submitted the winning nomination in a contest to name the Tewksbury Police Department’s new comfort dog.
Waffles was introduced to the contest winner, second-grader Jack Johnson, as well as his parents Adrianne and Shaun Johnson at the Tewksbury Police Station after school on Wednesday. The family was also joined by Jack’s second-grade teacher Karen Bancroft.
Jack’s parents brought him to the police station, where Jack and Waffles immediately took a liking to each other. Chief Columbus presented Jack with a basket of small gifts, including a plush waffle toy and a Tewksbury T-shirt.
Jack said he nominated the name Waffles because a photograph of the puppy reminded him of a waffle, and because his family’s dog loves to eat waffles.
Police received almost 1,000 suggestions after asking community members to participate in a contest to suggest the best name.
Among the most frequently suggested names were Buddy, Cooper, Teddy, Bentley, Rocky, Milo, Chief and Scout.
“The community’s response to our challenge was tremendous, and I congratulate Jack on a great suggestion that stood out from nearly 1,000 others and won us over,” said Chief Columbus. “Jack and Waffles both have a bright future as they continue their education here in Tewksbury.”
Waffles, who is 9 weeks old, was delivered to Tewksbury Police on Sunday by Monadnock Labradoodles, a small dog breeder in southern New Hampshire whose owner, Danielle Borozinski, worked with police to select a puppy with an appropriate temperament for working as a comfort dog.
Waffles is an Australian labradoodle, which is a cross between a poodle, Labrador retriever, and cocker spaniel, bred to make the dogs as hypoallergenic as possible, while also having calm, clever, and confident personalities that love human interaction.
Waffles will train and be partnered with School Resource Officer Eric Hanley, working to calm and build relationships with students in Tewksbury Public Schools and at community events.
Waffles and Officer Hanley will begin an intensive training program at Auntie Dog Training Studio in Tewksbury in the coming days, with several months of training ahead for both.
The initiative to add a comfort dog to the department’s roster is being fully funded by donations from Monadnock Labradoodles LLC, Walmart, Salem Five Bank, Auntie Dog Training Studio, Taught-a-Lot Childcare, and WellPet LLC.
“The generosity and support the Tewksbury community has provided ever since we started considering adding a comfort dog to our department has been overwhelming, and the entire Tewksbury Police Department appreciates it tremendously. We are thankful that Tewksbury Public Schools collaborated with us to make this idea a reality,” said Chief Colombus. “Students have been through a lot in the past two years, so we’re excited to add Waffles to our department as a calming resource for all.”