Meet UNLPD’s newest member: Hershey the goldendoodle

A new teammate is joining the UNL Police Department in a few weeks, he’s a therapy dog named Hershey.
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 7:21 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A new teammate is joining the UNL Police Department in a few weeks, he’s a therapy dog named Hershey.

Hershey is an 18-month-old goldendoodle. He was bred by Domesti-PUPS to be a service dog. Beginning at two days old, he was exposed to a variety of sounds, textures, smells, voices and television. Later, Domesti-PUPS found out he did not meet the bone strength requirement service dogs need to be safely leaned on or pulling wheel chairs.

“Hershey’s hip x-rays came out exactly average,” said trainer Jo Stutheit, “He is a great all-around dog, but to be a service dog he has to be above average.”

Hershey was then given a career to change and moved to Domesti-PUPS’s therapy dog program,

UNLPD Dispatch Director Sara Haake had been researching ways to improve resiliency in the dispatch center and connect with the Lincoln community. After to talking to other police stations and BIG Ten universities, she decided a therapy dog would help meet the needs she saw. Usually, there is a long waiting list to get a therapy dog, but since Hershey was recently moved into the program, UNLPD was able to quickly begin the process of getting Hershey, Haake said.

“He is a perfect fit for our department,” she said.

Hershey is finishing his training at the state penitentiary and will graduate from Domesti-PUPS program in the upcoming weeks.

Once Hershey is on campus, UNLPD plans to take him on walks, building checks and in the police cruisers. Victims that come to the dispatch center will also have Hershey there for support if desired. Any UNL students will also be able to contact the center for time with Hershey, Haake said.

UNLPD is still short of their fundraising goal to help pay for Hershey’s expenses for food and toys. The donor who gives the highest amount will get to rename Hershey, Haake said.

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