Are dogs stealing our jobs? Probably not, but they could sure run circles around our work ethic. From therapy dogs to police K9s, there are plenty of dogs with jobs out there. Like Paloma here, who’s an aspiring actress. We wanted to share some of our favorites from your communities – and what better way to start than with puppies on patrol? Although these little guys are still growing into their paws, they’ll be assets to their communities in no time. Like this little bloodhound, who the public named “Smokey” through Facebook. He’s a brand-new recruit for the Statesboro Police Department in Georgia. Once he’s finished training, he’ll help the police apprehend suspects and locate missing people, like children or patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. To have a dog who’s a specialist in that, we’re hoping can cut down that search time dramatically, and help us get that child before they were to get injured or be out in the elements, and the same with dementia patients or Alzheimer’s patients who walk away. Police aren’t the only ones hiring in the K9 department. A fire station in Kentucky got a new pup in 2018 to serve as their mascot. Her name is Oreo, and well, it’s no surprise she has more followers on Instagram than most of us. I walked in this morning and Derek was walking through the firehouse like this… I’m just like… [laughs] The morale was a little low and I thought it would really help, plus it’s a good thing. Every time we go to a school, talk to kids, first thing they ask is, “Where’s the dog?” [Oreo barking] She’s gonna stand out and that’s what we want. If we’re out at one – say, the Bourbon festival and walking around with her – we want people to say “Oh, that’s Oreo!”
Because of her face and stuff, they’re gonna recognize her and know her. And we can’t forget to mention Riley. He beat out other applicants to become the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ first pest-sniffing canine. He may not be curating his own exhibit anytime soon, but this bundle of cuteness keeps priceless works of art safe by sniffing out bugs and other pests that get into the museum. Now, obviously these puppies are cute, but older dogs and even unexpected breeds can succeed in the workplace. Like Echo, the pit bull service dog. She assists Marine veteran Sam Deeds who was injured in Iraq by two explosions. Shrapnel to my left forearm, shrapnel to my right hand and shrapnel to my head. When Echo and Sam met for the first time, through a program that pairs injured vets with shelter dogs, it was love at first sight. She aids him as a steady brace when he has trouble standing up… Brace. …and helps keep him calm and navigate public spaces. If there’s a group of people coming at me, she will actually pull me to the side away from them. Just naturally, she does it. It’s not even just something that I don’t think was trained. Sam says their companionship isn’t just helping him, it’s changing people’s perception of pit bulls. Veterans with post-traumatic stress get a bad rap, too. So what better way to represent the veteran community and the bully community by having her out in public and showing them what a pit bull is really about? Another unexpected breed you don’t always hear about working a 9 to 5? Corgis. While I’m sure you’re familiar with this breed’s ties to British royalty, this particular duo is hard at work in a special needs classroom in Kentucky. The trained therapy dogs, Clint and Victoria, belong to the teacher, Ms. Stuckey, who started bringing them to school with the principal’s blessing. I can definitely tell you that these corgis have changed the atmosphere of my classroom. The kids are kinder to one another. Their work ethic is greatly improved. They’ll pick up because they know that if something falls on the floor, the dogs can potentially get that, which might be dangerous for them. So, they’ve learned to not just worry about themselves, but they’re worried about the dogs. When I see Clint and Victoria they make my day because I love dogs, I love corgis, I like their little stumps, they’re really adorable. My favorite one is Clint. I like Victoria more because she’s a bit more interactive, and in my opinion, she’s a bit more cute. Clint, because every time I’m sad he’ll, like, make me better. When I get angry I just need to see them – like pet them. These fluffy puppers sure don’t mind working long hours, especially if they’re being paid in extra belly rubs. Reporter Julie Dolan told us more about Clint and Victoria and the impact they’re having in the classroom. What’s really interesting about stories like this is that people sometimes underestimate the value of animals and how they can impact our feelings, how they can impact our day and our lives in general. Even if you don’t have a dog to go home to, it’s nice just to be around the animals, even if it’s just for a few hours. Maybe in the classroom, like in this instance. But dogs really do play a big role on our emotions and our overall well-being. So I think it’s a fabulous program and I’m really proud of Ms. Stuckey and the efforts that she’s taken to make sure that her students have the best of the best in her classroom. Ok, so tell me, why did Ms. Stuckey start bringing the corgis to school and what made her decide to make them part of her class? Ms. Stuckey has been a corgi lover for the past decade she’s had these dogs and cared for them, and she turned them into therapy dogs, and ever since they’ve graduated from that program, she thought, wouldn’t it be cool if they could help some of my students? Just last year, she got a new principal, so she approached him and said, “What do you think about this idea?” And he said, “Hey, we’re here for the students.” “Whatever would be best for the students is what we should do, so let’s give the program a try.” And she brought the dogs in, and the students fell in love, so it’s been a really successful program ever since. So are there other teachers at the school thinking about getting therapy dogs, or maybe, do Clint and Victoria spend time in any of the other classrooms there? Right now, the dogs are just in Ms. Stuckey’s classroom, and another teacher at the school. Both of those classrooms deal with special needs students. They’ve been approved by the all parents in those classrooms. A lot of the people the school didn’t even know there were Corgis at the school, so she said she’s become somewhat of a celebrity at the school, people coming in and saying, “I want to see the dogs, now! Why don’t you bring the dogs to my classroom?” So she said her ultimate goal is to have therapy dogs school-wide. Of course, that might be a bit of a challenge, but she said that’s her ultimate goal and I think she can get it done. So I have to ask: do you have a favorite, Clint or Victoria? Both dogs were adorable. I think I like Victoria just a little bit better, because she would come right up to you. Clint was like, I’m kind of over this. I’m gonna lay under the teacher’s desk for a little while and relax. But Victoria was like, where’s the action? Where’s the camera? Where are the kids? What’s going on? So Victoria seemed a little more lively the day we were there, but they’re both great. Since this episode is all about paying tribute to our furry friends, we thought we’d end by sharing videos of your local neighborhood dogs that, although they might not have a 9 to 5, we love them all the same. You’re too big! Stop, stop! I’m Alexandra Stone and this has been your weekly dispatch.