LUDLOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Hampden County Sheriff's Department has recently added three therapy dogs to the team.
The new Emotional Support Division is comprised of three staff members who were paired with the three therapy dogs in training.
The addition was made in an effort to boost the spirits of the staff, the people in custody and the members of the public.
"These animals have the ability to decrease the tension in a room, and relieve anxiety with just their presence," said Sheriff Cocchi.
The three therapy dogs being added to the roster are:
Molly: A 4-year-old lab, handled by Stephanie Fahey, a mental health clinician with the department since 2017. Molly will be helping Stephanie with group and individual therapy with men and women in the care of the department.
Tess: A 4-year-old lab, partnered with Maribeth Moss, a registered nurse with the department since 2007. Tess brings comfort to people in the care of the department when they are getting medical treatment and procedures.
Jazz: A 2-year-old hound that was found as a stray in Virginia and lived in a shelter before being selected for the program. She is handled by Trudy Wagner, a member of the Training Department since 2014. Jazz will support the staff primarily and will be incorporated in community based programs once COVID-19 restrictions allow for such interactions.