Meet Oakley: Aiken Department of Public Safety’s therapy dog

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 11:00 AM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A new member is receiving a warm welcome to the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

Oakley is a nine-month-old Rottweiler and Hound mix training to fulfill his role as a therapy dog with his handler, Lieutenant Jennifer Hayes.

While Oakley’s main focus will be within the department for emotional support, he will also extend his services to hospitals, schools, and other city departments.

“With studies documenting the positive effect dogs can have on physical and emotional health, we believed that introducing a therapy dog into our department was the next logical step in our ongoing commitment to the mental health of our department personnel,” said Chief Charles Barranco.

His journey began when he was adopted from the SCPA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare a few months ago.

An anonymous donation covered all of Oakley’s training and living expenses, the department says.

Officials say his adaptable nature and friendly demeanor make him a versatile asset in community outreach efforts.