The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) has sworn in a new therapy dog, Officer Gus, who is now providing peer support to officers. Gus is a mini Australian Labradoodle born Sept. 19, 2022. He was bred for therapy work by Ashford Manor Labradoodles in Indiana and trained by Ultimate Canine.
Gus began training Nov. 2022 and had undergone three rigorous training levels. He knows over 30 obedience commands, has been exposed to various environments and is trained to de-escalate tense situations.
Gus’ primary duty is to provide support to officers. He possesses exceptional empathy and a natural ability to read and respond to human emotions. With a wagging tail and a warm heart, he symbolizes comfort, compassion, and understanding for IMPD officers.
“We are thrilled to add another four-legged member to the IMPD family,” said Deputy Chief Valerie Cunningham. “Officer Gus brings comfort to our officers during times of stress and hardship.” Officer Gus is IMPD’s second full-time therapy dog on staff.
Officer Gus’ primary handler, Officer Nicole Juday, has completed the dog handler training course earlier this year. According to the American Kennel Club, therapy dog visits lower blood pressure, heart rate, and patient anxiety and boost endorphin levels. Studies show that a well-trained therapy dog can also positively affect an individual’s wellness following a traumatic event.
The IMPD Office of Professional Development and Wellness was created in 2010 and connects officers with professional services and resources. The wellness department continues serving more than 1,500 officers, reserves, civilians on staff and their families.