ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office added a new member to the department this week.
Ten-week-old “Rex” is a black Labrador retriever, he’s also ACSO’s first therapy dog.
Rex was sworn in by Sheriff Tyler Brown Tuesday. He will be teamed up with School Resource Officer Deputy John Gray. The pair will be assigned to all the Littleton Elementary Schools within Arapahoe County.
ACSO said Deputy Gray and Rex will work with students with special needs, be a comfort to students in crisis or during times of stress and help those who suffer from anxiety or depression.
“Mental health is an ongoing concern, particularly with our youth. There is a chemical change in the brain that reduces the stress when people pet and interact with a dog,” said Gray. “We hope that Rex will help students feel comfortable and safe in school and bring a smile to their faces.”
Rex will be trained in basic obedience over the next year. After he turns 1 year old, he will attend the American Kennel Club’s good citizen class and an intensive class to become an AKC Certified Therapy Dog.
“We are so proud of this partnership we have with Littleton Public Schools to implement this new therapy dog program and make it a great success,” said Brown. “We look forward to this new and exciting way to work with the LPS School District.”
Gray has been with the sheriff’s office for 11 years and assigned to the SRO unit for six years. He’s currently assigned to the elementary schools. He is also a member of the SWAT Negotiation Team and works with citizens in crisis.