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EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin (WEAU) – We’re now seven days a month of Mental Health Awareness. Becoming a member of the Altoona Police Department has a positive effect on people’s daily lives – and makes it look simple.
“People shouting donut donut donut from classrooms!” said the school’s resource officer, Timothy Peterson.
Donut is a year and a half old, Labradoodle, and proudly serves the town of Altoona.
“He’s basically a celebrity here,” said Officer Peterson.
He and Peterson can be found at Altoona High School five days a week.
“It helps me bridge the gap between myself as a uniformed law enforcement officer and the students here. Nobody wants to talk to a cop but they want to come up to me and talk to me, now they want to interact with Donut, ”says Peterson.
This puppy joined the troop when the pandemic hit last year. His calming presence, says Peterson, rubs off on the people around him.
“I’ve had students and staff who have had really bad days in and out of school and seeing their fear fade away is just amazing,” said Peterson.
Ellie Benson is a junior at Altoona High School and says it’s easy to see how much donut means to classmates.
“When he walks down the hall you can see he brighten up every student day.”
Benson says Donut helped her deal with stress in school.
“It takes me a lot of time to take a test because I am very scared. So it feels good to stroke him and be around him before taking a test,” said Benson.
Outside of school hours, Donut also reports on many other tasks within the community.
“We also use it on patrol for a variety of cases such as domestic servant neglect, child abuse, and suicide,” said Officer Peterson.
The only thing people don’t like about donut? There just isn’t enough of him.
“We need five more from him. Every dog should be a donut! “Said Benson.
Donut was donated to the Altoona Police Department by Blueberry Cottage Labradoodles in Osseo. Officer Peterson believes every law enforcement agency should have a therapy dog.
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