AURORA | Police cadet pups Otis and Bear will become the latest sworn members of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, taking on the mission of bringing smiles to local public school students.
Bear, an eight-week-old chocolate Labrador retriever, will partner up with Candace Gray, the office’s first female dog handler and a school resource officer in Cherry Creek Schools. Otis, an eight-week-old black Lab, will be paired with Drew Matthews, who serves as an SRO for Byers and Deer Trail schools.
Otis will be the first therapy dog to serve the Byers and Deer Trail districts, while Bear is the second dog working in Cherry Creek schools. The new additions mean the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office now has more school therapy dogs than any law enforcement agency in Colorado, according to a news release.
The release said the dogs are meant to bring comfort to all students, including students with anxiety, depression and special needs, and especially during times of crisis.
“We are so proud of the partnerships we have with all these school districts,” Sheriff Tyler Brown said in the release. “These dogs are helping kids in ways we couldn’t have imagined. They’re making a huge impact (on) their mental health and touching lives in very positive and meaningful ways.”