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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade Police Department is launching a pilot program that aims to provide comfort and emotional support through pet therapy.
The program is being launched by the Kendall District station’s Neighborhood Resource Unit, along with Miami-Dade Animal Services.
To that effort, they have recruited the efforts of Sparky, a three-year-old American Bulldog mix, who was received as an injured stray.
After Sparky was rehabilitated, shelter personnel realized that he was very sweet-tempered, and was selected as a candidate for the Second Chance Dog Training Program.
Upon completion of the program, Sparky was selected for the Neighborhood Resource Unit.
Grace O’Donnell, a police reserve officer, originally fostered Sparky and trained with him. Both were recently certified as a Pet Therapy Team by Alliance for Therapy Dogs, an AKC recognized organization.
Police officer Ryan Fields has since fostered Sparky, and was selected as his handler.
“We are proud of Sparky and his accomplishments and to be a part of this pilot program. This is just another example of the wonderful pets available at the Pet Adoption and Protection Center waiting to be discovered and adopted,” said Animal Services Director Alex Muñoz. “We are hoping to continue this great collaboration with Miami-Dade Police Department.”
Police said officers Fields, O’Donnell, along with Sparky, will be attending events at schools, hospitals, nursing homes to provide comfort and emotional support.