An area sheriff’s office is welcoming a new member to its team.

Rookie is his name, and he’s a nine-week old black Goldendoodle. Unlike traditional law enforcement dogs, Rookie is training to become a therapy dog and will be joining the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office.

The department says it’s been looking for a better way to serve victims and children in the community and hopes rookie will help provide some comfort to those who need it.

“I think it’s a good resource for our agency and community, said Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd.

He says therapy dogs have proven to be a benefit in many other places like schools and hospitals and he thinks Rookie will be a great fit.

Deputy Rebecca Merryfield who serves as an Investigator and Community Service Officer is Rookie’s handler. She says she came up with the idea to bring a therapy dog to the department.

“How this all kind of came about is I was at a training where they talked about Jayme Closs and how they brought up the therapy dogs from Wausau and the conversation was that there were really in this area to utilize on these larger scale incidents,” said Merryfield.

Rookie will be a benefit to both department staff and most importantly victims who come in contact with law enforcement. Deputy Merryfield says Rookie will sit in on forensic interviews, specifically with children and he will accompany her to DARE classes. Rookie will also provide comfort to officers at the agency after any large scale incident.

Therapy dogs provide many benefits, including significantly reducing pain, anxiety, and even depression, according to health officials with Mayo Clinic.

“It just brings joy to people that are animal lovers stress relief in the middle of the day,” says Sheriff Bygd,

Deputy Merryfield says for victims it can be intimidating to have to come in and talk to law enforcement. She hopes Rookie will help provide comfort in those situations.

“In law enforcement our job isn’t only to make arrests but to also provide some sort of whether its therapy or resources for the victims that we serve as well,” said Merryfield.