Meet Justice, LPD's new therapy dog

Meet Justice, LPD's new therapy dog

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

There is a new addition to the Lubbock Police Department and she is fluffy. LPD announced a few weeks ago, the newest teammate would be a canine. 

Justice is a 13-week-old Bernedoodle, a mix breed of purebred Bernese mountain dog and a purebred Poodle. Unlike other canines at the station, Justice will provide therapy, comfort, and community engagement. 

Sergeant Steve Bergen is a her handler and said his daughter brought up the idea to him. 

"Lone and behold, I did the research and other departments are doing this across the United States," Bergen said.

Bergen said she comes from a breeder in Arkansas, specializing in puppy socialization.

"They do a lot of desensitization and socialization from almost the point they were born," Bergen said. "So you can mess with the paws, the face, you could hold it." 

She will go through training for about a year, with the help of Texas Tech Professor Sasha Protopopova.

"The key to a therapy dog is the correct temperament," Protopopova said. "Justice has already got that covered, so when you get the temperament, that's kinda half the battle." 

The other half is obedience and socialization training.

"Make sure the dog is really comfortable with new environments, all kinds of people, they really are not fearful of any situation," Protopopova said.

The goal is for Justice to reach as many people as possible.

"She can be utilized in schools, hospitals, not just in the community but within my own department, our own cohorts, kinda the unforgotten people are the people in dispatch," Bergen said.

Justice was purchased from funds from a donation by the rock band 3 Doors Down and it's non-profit, "The Better Life Foundation", which focuses on providing for children and young adults.

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