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UCF Police Department gets first therapy dog

Paisley will help ease stress, comfort victims of violent crimes

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ORLANDO, FL. – The UCF Police Department has added a new furry friend to the team. Her name is Paisley and she is a 2-year-old Treeing Walker Coonhound-- UCF’s first therapy dog. 

UCFPD Det. Matt Scott will be paired with Paisley, to alleviate stress, comfort victims of violent crimes such as sexual assault and stalking so they can feel comfortable reporting to law enforcement, UCF in a statement.  

“Paisley is going to be able to provide unconditional love, and victims will hopefully be able to get to a level of ease where they’re able to just disclose what occurred to them," Scott said. "Then we can go out and do our jobs.” 

According to the UCF statement, UCFPD believes it is the first campus police department in the country with an in-house therapy dog. 

The idea of the therapy dog program came from UCF alumnus Jessie Holton, formerly a special victims unit agent with Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. Holton drew his personal experience with a therapy dog for a doctoral class project and the idea of the therapy dog program started as a way to assist child-abuse victims in BCSO. 

Paisley and Scott are graduates of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office’s Paws & Stripes College.

Paws & Stripes pairs shelter rescue dogs with inmates who teach the dog obedience skills. After the dog's complete socialization, they are paired with law enforcement. More than 300 dogs have graduated from Paws & Stripes based on the release statement, providing support to people who’ve experienced trauma. 

Paisley will soon begin serving the Knight community once the team receives the therapy dog's certification.