SPEARFISH, SD – People may have noticed a new face at the Spearfish Police Department: Scooby, a dog currently being fostered, with the plan of being adopted by the department, who had been awaiting his forever home at the Western Hills Humane Society since November.
“He’s been an excellent ambassador since day one,” Police Chief Curt Jacobs said, remarking on Scooby’s friendly demeanor that draws people – whether officers and dispatchers at the station, or people out walking in the community – to him.
The idea of an office pet had been swirling around the department for some time, as the department is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Recently, Animal Control Officer Scott Beal, who knew Scooby and his situation, broached the topic with command staff of fostering, with the goal of eventually adopting, a station dog.
“A lot of agencies around the country have started adopting similar models of having dogs onsite for their employees. Mental health and wellness for everyone is a major topic of discussion in today’s world, and first responders are no exception,” Chief Jacobs said.
“Scooby lights up a room with smiles as he walks in and greets people. We’ve already had staff members come in on their time off to take him for walks or just to visit, and he’s got a crowd of fans around town who wait to give him treats when they see him with Scott (our animal control officer/parking attendant).”
Animal Control Officer Beal takes Scooby on his daily rounds and said community members enjoy seeing the dog out and about.
“People have welcomed Scooby with open arms,” he said, adding that Scooby loves to return the favor. Beal described Scooby also serves as a mascot for reminders related to City animal ordinances, such as dogs being on leashes, cleaning up after pets, and having pet identification visible.
“When I am out talking to folks about animal ordinances, it is helpful to have a four-legged emissary modeling those behaviors, and he’s great company.”
Public Safety Director Pat Rotert explained that the department is always looking for ways to enhance the wellness programs already in place for first responders. Fostering Scooby has been a win-win for all parties so far, he said.
“We’re getting the benefits a pet provides, from joy and companionship to reduced stress and anxiety and increased exercise, to name a few, and Scooby has a home where he gets lots of attention and socialization,” Public Safety Director Rotert said.
“It’s been an enjoyable experience for everyone, and we certainly encourage people to consider fostering and adopting shelter pets in need.”
Photo caption: Scooby, a dog currently being fostered, with the plan of being adopted by the Spearfish Police Department, is pictured. Photo courtesy Spearfish Police Department