Eight May Not Be Enough as Sheriff Introduces Comfort K9 Unit
OAKLAND COUNTY, MI – July 18, 2022 – If Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard has anything to say about it – and he does – eight will never be enough.
Puppies, that is.
The Sheriff today introduced the two newest members of the Sheriff’s Office K9 Comfort Unit – Sadie and Wildcat. They join a collection of floppy-eared, undeniably cute, and over-the-top affectionate King Charles Cavalier Spaniel pure bred dogs to highlight the real law enforcement benefit they have. In fact, two more are expected to join the unit in about seven weeks.
Multiple comfort K9s, including one named Oxford, were taken to Oxford High School by their handlers when the school reopened after the tragic shooting in November.
(l) Deputy Dayna DeMeester and K9 Wildcat and (r) Deputy Gil Garrett with K9 Sadie
“People just gravitate to them,” 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.”
Just last week – hours after Wildcat was assigned to School Resource Deputy Dayna DeMeester – the puppy helped defuse a potentially serious incident with a combative man who had threatened family members. Wildcat was able to calm the man without any further incident.
(l) Deputy Alex Knopp with Max, Cali, Indy and Scarlet (r) Sheriff Bouchard with K9 Max
Bouchard formed the unit three years ago with Taser and Max. It is believed to be the first of its kind using King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and certainly its size in the state, perhaps in the country. It now has dogs assigned to School Resource Deputies in Independence Township, Pontiac, and Rochester Hills, besides Oxford, and several other communities.
Private donors sponsor the dogs. They range in age from three and a half years – Max and Taser – to Sadie and Wildcat, who are 10-weeks old. They attend public events, school events, perform community outreach in hospitals and respond to natural disaster scenes or perform crisis intervention.
Captain Todd Hill, who oversees the Emergency Response and Preparedness Division for the Sheriff’s Office, is responsible for K9 Cali. She was only supposed to stay with him for a week until they found another handler. A week turned into a month and now he doesn’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.
The remaining dogs are named Scarlet and Indy
July 19, 2022, Oakland County Sheriff and Rochester.Life staff