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Therapy K9 Unit
COPPER & PENNY
Please welcome the cutest members of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department! These furry four legged deputies help serve our community as therapy canines. Therapy canines serve a special purpose in our community. This dynamic duo provides affection and comfort to our citizens in various situations which include: comforting victims of endangerment and abuse, educational purposes, special events and more. Both canines have gone through extensive training and will continue to train throughout their careers.
Our current Sheriff, Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III saw a need for therapy canines that would serve their community in a very different manner from the standard police dog. The Sheriff recognized that a special breed of canine would have to join the unit in order to be successful. The Therapy K-9 Unit was formed in 2016. Penny and Copper were recruited to join our Sheriff’s Department family.
The Unit is the first of its kind to be utilized by a law enforcement agency within New Mexico. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department has paved the way; utilizing special therapy canines assigned to sworn handlers. The Therapy K-9 Unit and the BCSO K-9 Unit both train regularly. Both Penny and Copper are assigned to sworn handlers and are cared for 24/7 by their chosen handler. Penny and Copper go to work, ride in a police K-9 vehicle and live at home with their handler. The handler and K-9 are a team and constantly train as a pair.
If you would like these adorable deputies to attend an event or visit your classroom; schedule a demonstration by filling out the form below.
Copper was born September 27, 2015. He was born in Bernalillo, New Mexico. Our Chaplain Todd Patton found him thru an add on Craigslist. Chaplain Patton always wanted a Chocolate Lab because of their eyes and knew them to be very loyal. Chaplain Patton brought him home at 8 weeks old and started obedience training. He learned very quickly and it was very apparent that he had a very friendly nature about him. Chaplain Patton become very interested in Therapy Dogs and utilizing one for his Chaplin work. With the support and guidance of the BCSO command staff, Copper was brought onto the department and was joined by our second Therapy Dog; Penny. Copper and Penny both became certified together and visit schools to do demonstrations around Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque. Chaplain Patton works alongside our department psychologist and his psych group to participate in several critical incident debriefs; including the recent Clovis, NM shooting.
“Copper loves reporting for duty and when people ask me what he does it’s usually with a smile as they are petting him and I just say…that…he makes you smile!!” – Chaplain Todd Patton
Therapy K-9 Penny has proudly served her community since the summer of 2016. Penny is a third generation female Labradoodle born April 9, 2016 in Corrales, NM. Her journey began after specific selection testing for her breed and temperament. Penny was chosen for her position with BCSO at the age of 6 weeks. She was a sweet and friendly puppy who stood out from her littermates as the perfect candidate for such an important role. Penny was assigned to Deputy Maggard and their bond began when Penny joined the department at 8 weeks old. Penny and Deputy Maggard began their training since the day they met. Penny and her handler set out to master basic obedience and socialization skills. It was immediately obvious Penny was a smart dog and would make her community a better place. Penny mastered sitting and shaking at the young age of 10 weeks. Penny’s success can be attributed to her play and pack drives and her trainability trait.