Rescue dog joins Valley police department as therapy dog

GILBERT, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- From rescue dog to hero of the heroes, a rescue pup is now working at a Valley police department helping those who help members of the community.

Cora has an important job to do, and she knows it. Knowing her commands is part of the work she does.

"T hat's actually her main priority is being involved in critical incident stress debriefings and defusings," said Officer Ed Morales with Gilbert Police.

Cora is the newest addition to the Gilbert Police Department. She serves as a therapy dog. Her handler, officer Ed Morales, is the peer support and wellness coordinator for the department.

"One of the first things I did when I took over the position I went and asked people if there was something I could do that would benefit the department what would that be the number one answer I got back was a therapy dog," explained Officer Morales.

"So we knew from the beginning that Cora was the one that we currently had in our care that was going to be the best candidate for the positions," said Barb Savoy with Friends for Life Animal Rescue.

It wasn't long ago that Cora called the Friends for Life Animal Rescue home. Her future was unknown when she was rescued until volunteers heard the Gilbert Police was looking for a therapy dog and submitted Cora for consideration.

"I wanted a dog that was empathetic that was able to read the situations and read people but not so empathetic she needed to have some kind of self-confidence in herself too, so she didn't take on too much," said Officer Morales.

Sheila Lyengar spent several months assessing several dogs ultimately choosing and training Cora.

"I took her everywhere that I went with me not only formal training like obedience also just environmentally getting her used to different places sights sounds surfaces elevators busy city streets," said Sheila Lyenhar, dog trainer.

Officer Morales says sometimes Cora roams the halls of the police department visiting employees, sometimes she sits in on meetings, other times her assignment is much tougher.

With just about two months on the job, Cora has already made a huge difference.

The Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association in Gilbert covered all the costs of bringing Cora on as a therapy dog for the department.