PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office introduced two new members of the K-9 Comfort Unit Monday.
Sadie and Wildcat joined the unit of floppy-eared King Charles Cavalier Spaniel purebred dogs.
Hours after Wildcat was assigned to a school resource deputy, the sheriff’s office says the puppy helped calm down a man who was aggressive and threatened family members.
Several comfort K-9s, including one named Oxford, have gone to Oxford High School after the school reopened following the deadly shooting last November.
Two more dogs — Scarlet and Indy — are expected join the unit in about seven weeks.
“People just gravitate to them,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. “They smile, they pet the dogs. It’s like they just take a deep breath. You can almost watch the dog absorb the anxiety. Afterwards, the dogs literally passed out asleep because they were so impacted by absorbing that tension. They are very intuitive. Also, this has been a super stressful couple years for our people and you can see the amazing impact on them as well.”
The Comfort K-9 Unit was formed three years ago by Bouchard with puppies Taser and Max. The department believes the unit of King Charles Cavalier Spaniels is the first of its kind in the state and possibly the country.
The dogs are assigned to school resource deputies in several communities including Oxford, Independence Township, Pontiac and Rochester Hills. The dogs are sponsored by private donors and range in age from three-and-a-half years old, with Max and Taser, to 10 weeks old, with Sadie and Wildcat.
The dogs attend public events, school events, perform community outreach in hospitals, respond to natural disaster scenes and perform crisis intervention.
Capt. Todd Hill oversees the department’s Emergency Response and Preparedness Division. K-9 Cali was only supposed to stay with Hill for about a week as they were looking for another handler, but after a month, he didn’t want to give her up.
“I underestimated what the dogs bring to a scene, the tremendous ability they have to comfort, bring happiness and joy to an environment that is nothing but stress,” Hill said.