DIGHTON – Chief Robert MacDonald is pleased to welcome Comfort Dog Oakie as the newest member of the Dighton Police Department.
Oakie, an eight-week-old English Labrador Retriever, officially joined the department on Thursday, July 21.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Oakie as the newest member of our department,” Chief MacDonald said. “He will be a great addition to our department serving as a comfort to all who interact with him. On behalf of the department, we thank everyone who helped make this possible.”
Oakie was welcomed to the department by members of Dighton Police, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, Town Administrator Michael Mullen and Board of Selectmen membersKenneth Pacheco and Peter Caron. He was also welcomed by his cousin K-9 comfort dogs from Boonefield who work in the area, Somerset Police’s Comfort Dog Raider with his handler School Resource Officer Brendan Hague and East Providence Comfort Dog Marty with his handler School Resource Officer Jay Rogers.
Oakie, whose name signifies the great Council Oak Tree and the solid foundation of policing and community partnership, is the department’s first K-9.
Oakie will spend most of his time with School Resource Officer Stephen Hathaway at the town’s schools, and he will also visit the senior center and assisted living facilities and make appearances at community events. He will help with the de-escalation of children in need, provide comfort to children and others who may be experiencing or have experienced trauma and more.
“Oakie will assist our department with breaking down barriers between us and the community, which will help us to further connect and establish meaningful relationships with our residents,” SRO Hathaway said. “As we’ve seen with police departments throughout the state, police comfort dogs truly improve the well-being of everyone they interact with. We can’t wait to see the positive impacts Oakie will have on the Dighton community.”
Oakie and SRO Hathaway will attend Professional Canine Services in Middleboro. Oakie’s training will include a puppy aptitude test, puppy STAR for dog handler test, canine good citizen test, public access test, as well as a search and certification course.
Chief MacDonald and members of the Dighton Police Department would like to thank all community partners who have supported Oakie so far.
The department would like to especially thank Dave and Peggi Brogan of Boonefield Labrador for generously donating Oakie to the department, the Dighton Veterinary Hospital for donating veterinary services and Bristol County Agricultural High School for donating grooming services.
The department has created an online store that sells t-shirts and travel mugs. All proceeds from this fundraiser will go directly into supporting necessary purchases for Oakie such as food, shelters, harnesses, treats and much more. Those wishing to support Oakie can visit the store here.
Chief MacDonald would also like to thank members of the DPD Comfort K-9 Committee Detective Ryan Richards, Lt. Shawn Cronin, Patrolman Alyssa Bennet and SRO Hathaway for their work relating to the department’s new Comfort K-9 program.