Therapy dog is making a difference at police department

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, July 3, 2024

KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis Police Department has a new member on its force, one who is already making a difference at the department, said Kannapolis Police Chief Terry Spry. Millie, a four-month-old Bernedoodle, is a therapy dog and was donated to the Kannapolis Police Department by Taylor Wise, owner of Dunkin Doodles in Waxhaw.

While not the first service dog at the Kannapolis Police Department, as they have five K-9s, Millie is the first to serve in the role of therapy dog. 

“Millie has already made a difference in our department. She is helping us deal with the trauma of the difficult things we see every day,” said Spry. “When they see her, our officers start to relax and smile. She is an uplifting part of our day.” 

The Wise family wanted to help and express their gratitude to law enforcement, plus they are friends of one of the Kannapolis police officers, thus making the connection.

“When the recent tragic event in Charlotte happened and four law enforcement officers lost their lives, my family and I wanted to do something to help officers in our region and show our appreciation for everything they do every day for all of us,” Wise said. “Our puppies are usually spoken for before they are born but we had two, Millie and her sister, Phoebe, who did not have a home. We felt like this was their purpose — to be therapy dogs for law enforcement.”

The department has been wanting to get a therapy dog, and now with Millie being donated, the timing was wonderful as the dogs, their training and upkeep are expensive, it was noted.

Sister Phoebe was donated to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Lt. Justin Smith is Millie’s handler, and the two will begin an eight-week AKC Certified Therapy Dog training course later this month after which she will accompany Smith to the police department and be available for any member of the department as a means of support during difficult incidents, or simply to help ease day-to-day stress.

 “Once Millie completes her training you will see her at community events and around city hall serving as a therapy dog for other city staff,” Spry said. “We are very appreciative of Taylor’s gift of Mille to us. This gift of Millie and her connection to our officers will play a significant role in ensuring we look after the mental health of our officers and our community.”