Castle Rock, CO

Paw patrol: Mesa Middle School adds Castle Rock’s second officer-therapy dog team

Heather Willard

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Sept. 8, 2022

(Castle Rock, Colo.) The Douglas County School District and Castle Rock Police Department added a second therapy dog to the school resource officer program, deploying the pooch at Mesa Middle School.

Rocket, a 1-year-old Husky mix, will work with Officer Luke Godfrey to serve students and staff. The pair complements the existing team at Castle View High School, Officer Scott Gillespie and therapy dog Buttercup. They made history in April 2021 as the first permanent officer-therapy dog pair deployed in Colorado.

“In the short month we’ve been together, Rocket has already made a noticeable, positive impact,” Godfrey said, adding that Rocket lifts everyone’s spirits.

“I can’t wait to see all we can accomplish together,” Godfrey added.

Castle Rock Police Chief Jack Cauley said Castle View reported “incredible results” with the first team, noting their help with students with special needs and other students experiencing anxiety and panic attacks.

“We could not be more excited to grow this program,” said Cauley. “This is an incredible program that we’re ready to bring to our middle school community.”

Rocket initially received seven weeks of temperament testing and 12 weeks of therapy dog training before training with Godfrey in Florida at the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Paws & Stripes College. The pair also completed a 40-hour Law Enforcement Investigative Therapy Dog Course. Godfrey and Rocket also hold two additional national certifications: Canine Good Citizen through the American Kennel Club and the Multi-Discipline Therapy K-9 certification through United K9s.

Rocket will remain in designated areas for interactions with staff, students and teachers to mitigate allergies or fears.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

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