COTTAGE GROVE –– Fuji, an almost 2-year-old yellow labrador retriver, joined the Cottage Grove Police Departmnet as an emotional support animal (ESA) on May 31, but she needed the first several weeks to acclimate to her new home and receive medical attention.
An ESA is an animal that a mental health professional has deemed necessary for a person or people to work through symptoms of varying mental illnesses, stress, and trauma. CGPD is taking a preemptive strike since experiencing and mediating traumatic events is not uncommon for police officers.
“We just want to make sure we do whatever we can to make sure the officers have what they need to be happy and healthy and perform great – which they do,” said Captain Shawn Marsh, who is Fuji’s handler.
Fuji is primarily for the officers, but she may be brought out to community events – depending on if there is a need for her. Marsh said that recently someone involved in a call was “having a rough go,” so Marsh brought Fuji to her so she could feel better. He also said that incidents involving children are a prime example of Fuji’s need in the community.
“If an officer has a bad call, she’ll go up, and they can pet her or love on her, but her only job is to be loved on and love on people,” Marsh said.
CGPD is working toward getting a dog to bring back its K9 Team as soon as possible, so Fuji may soon be joined by another furry friend.