Homeless beagle gets permanent home — and a job — with local police
Police officials say Auggie has helped create comfort for officers and boost community policing
By Jimmie Brown
SUSQUEHANNA, Pa. — Susquehanna Township police officers start each shift with a roll call, where they go over the day’s agenda, share safety information, and maybe play a game a catch with the department’s newest member: Auggie.
Auggie is a 14-month-old Beagle the department adopted in September of 2020, after he was found homeless and roaming around Elmerton Avenue and State Farm Drive in Susquehanna Township by the Humane Society of Harrisburg.
Now, the police station on Linglestown Road is Auggie’s permanent home. He starts most days by greeting the police officers the moment they walk in. Certain officers are assigned to various aspects of Auggie’s care, making sure he is walked and fed properly. He tags along on briefings, sits in on shift changes, and even hits the streets to visit schools with the School Resource Officer.
Auggie has free reign to walk around the station, following officers and greeting people. He even hosts his own Facebook page. On his social media account, Auggie has helped with the Humane Society’s annual Christmas donation drive and donated a few toys and treats to greet some new working dogs that may eventually join the department, if the department restarts its K-9 unit.
The community has embraced Auggie. A local business, Abrams and Weakley General Store for Animals on North 6th Street has donated dog food for him.
Police officials say Auggie has helped create comfort for officers and boost community policing.
“Our school resource officer has been taking him to the schools several times a week to break down the barriers in relationships with us and the children,” says Robert Martin, director of public safety. “Auggie is that bridge and it’s just been absolutely phenomenal.”
He’s one of two such emotional-support dogs at area police departments. Last month, Swatara Township brought on a dog of their own named “Tattoo.” The 3-month old Labrador Retriever and Pit Bull mix was a donation to the department. His name was inspired by Christine Stoltz, a 25-year reception at the department who recently died of cancer, and was a fan of tattoos.
Swatara Township Police Chief Darrell Reider said of Stotlz: “She also loved our K-9 program and so that was to honor her.”
Similar to Susquehanna Police Department, Swatara township found their therapy dog helps comfort officers who are constantly exposed to traumatic events.
“Law enforcement is very stressful,” said Martin, of Susquehanna Township police. “We all know what pets and our dogs can do for us at home in terms of stress relief.”
Police departments adopting dogs for emotional support seems to be a trend locally and across the country. The Atlanta Police Department recently announced the adoption of ‘Scout,’ a 2-year-old Tennessee Mountain Cur mix.
At the Susquehanna Township Police Department, Auggie is treated as one of the staff members, even receiving his own ID card with an official badge number. (His number is 714, same as the fictional LAPD detective Joe Friday, from the old radio and television series: Dragnet.)
Angela Codero, one of the officers assigned to Auggie, says there isn’t a moment that goes by where Auggie isn’t spreading his love throughout the department.
“He’s always cheering us up because he’s running around being goofy, definitely is full of energy and loves to play,” she said.
(c)2021 The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)