The Spirit of Blue Foundation presented a check for $3,500 to the Palm Springs Police Department Thursday. The Foundation was responsible for the funding to secure the department’s therapy dog, Finley.
Settling in: Finley has been with the department since late January. He’s almost two and already weighs about 100 pounds. He uses his giant paws and puppy-dog eyes to help the department deal with challenging times.
- “Our blood pressure instantly drops every time this beautiful dog comes around. He goes to wherever he’s most needed — dispatch, records, patrol.” — Police Chief Andy Mills
Change of career: Finley was originally bred by Guide Dogs of the Desert to be a guide dog for someone with a visual impairment. But Finley has an allergic reaction to a certain type of grass, and that would have made it difficult for his future owner to take care of him.
- “That’s when we decided to give him a change of career,” says Coby Webb, a retired law enforcement officer and a renowned trainer who works with dogs who need a change of career.
Quick learner: Finley already had basic obedience training from his time at Guide Dogs of the Desert, and because they knew his lineage they knew his temperament, intelligence, and work ethic would make him a great therapy dog.
- “When I got him, we did some fine tuning with simulation training. That’s where you pretend to cry, and put your head down and your shoulders hunched, that trains him to come right to you if you’re crying,” said Webb.
Learning the ropes: Chief Mills said Finley used to have some squeak toys around the department to play with, but when one of the officers on patrol actually heard the toy over the radio, they had to pivot to quieter toys.
The more the merrier: Finley joined PSPD shortly after Ranger joined the Palm Springs Fire Department, adding more furry friends to the roster of public service!