Albany Police therapy dog saves teen girl in crisis


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Charlie, the Goldendoodle puppy, has come a long way in his three months on the Albany Police force. Though he’s still in training to be a therapy dog, his friendly and snuggly attitude was the perfect solution Tuesday afternoon.

Officers got the call around 2:15 p.m. that a 14-year-old girl was on a roof on Providence Street. Negotiators were trying anything they could to make sure she didn’t hurt herself.

“During that negotiation, it was determined while they were building a rapport with the young lady that she really loved dogs,” explains Officer Joel Caldwell, Charlie’s handler.

So the two rushed to the scene. Caldwell says meeting Charlie was able to convince the stressed teen to come down, which was when Charlie immediately gave her all the licks and love.

“In the end, she made an amazing choice. We are happy with the choice that she made, you know to be safe, to come on in off the rooftop, but it was our first experience with Charlie using him in that capacity. He’s the compassion that we needed for her to help her and get the best result,” Officer Caldwell says to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Chief Eric Hawkins says in the two years since his department initiated the therapy dog program, he’s amazed to see how much the pups and their handlers have grown.

“I’m so proud of them. You know, when we started this program two years ago, we knew that therapy dogs would help us build relations in the community, we knew it would help mitigate stress in the workplace, but we also knew that it was a possibility they could help us save lives and this showed it,” he says.

“We see that these dogs are used for so many things. Young adults or older adults or with the police department itself, you know members of our department who are in stressful situations. Having these animals around is amazing, because they bring your guard down, they let you relax for a bit — even if it’s for five minutes at a time — it works wonders,” Officer Caldwell also adds.

Charlie has since gotten plenty of treats for his heroics. Chief Hawkins says they’re even looking for more pups to fill the therapy dog family.

“We started out with two and we always had a vision of having four or five, and so we are looking to expand,” Hawkins says with a smile.

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