CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – From staff shortages, to long hours and protecting the community, the life of an Albany Police officer is not easy. The department is adding a new four-legged member to the force to help de-stress with those everyday tasks.

“When the dog comes around you know it just changes everybody and lifts their spirits. You can just see the stress levels just diffuse,” said Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins.

Albany Police is adding their third dog an 8-week-old male Goldendoodle to their therapy dog program. Maxy and Finn are the other two therapy dogs in the program. They are all meant to help with the stresses sworn and non-sworn employees are under.

Chief Hawkins says during the past year of civil unrest these dogs are bridging the gap between officers and the community.

“Our community is stressed right now and having these dogs is a bridge between the community and our police officers. It’s a great way for us to further our community policing,” said he.

 “When they are out in public with that dog its a whole different perception, people come up, want to meet them and talk to them about the dog. So its puts a different aspect on that officer out in the street,” said Kathy Rodgers.

The Goldendoodle was given to the police department by Brian Tierney – a local breeder from Sand Lakes Doodle. He will then go through free training with Kathy Rogers from Bloomingrove Veterinary Hospital in Rensselaer. They agree this pup is the perfect fit for the department.

“He’s good and he’s not skittish. He is definitely independent and smart, he’s on his way to a good career,” said Tierney.  

“The first six months is critical because they have to go places to build confidence on different surfaces. They also have to be around children and people,” said Rogers.

The Albany Police Department will be getting the dog soon and are still deciding on a name.

Chief Hawkins says dogs can build a strong bond between police and the community, and an overall moral booster.

“I think he’s going to have a wonderful long life and just bring joy to many people,” said Tierney.