SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Potty training a puppy is stressful but it is nothing compared to the stress that police officers and first responders face on a daily basis. And that is why the Scarborough Police aren't complaining that they are all going to be responsible to help train their department's newest member.
Marlea (pronounced Marley) Grace is an 8 week old, hypoallergenic, St. Bernard-poodle mix and she is the new station dog. Marlea arrived at her new home just after noontime on Monday and she quickly became a big hit.
Getting a police pet was the idea of Scarborough Police Chief Robbie Moulton.
Moulton saw first hand how comforting dogs could be when his mother was in a nursing home. He has seen the same thing in hospital settings. He thought it would have a similar effect on his officers and dispatchers who are constantly dealing with stressful situations.
"Our officers go on calls and see and hear things no one should have to. Our dispatchers are dealing with calls that are very traumatic and sometimes we have people from the community coming into the police department that are struggling. We are always looking for ways to minimize the trauma," said Moulton.
Moulton thought a dog, a loving and non-judgemental animal, would be a perfect solution.
"We have folks in the building 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and fire departments have had Dalmations so it got me thinking: Why couldn't we do this?"
Marlea will live at the police station, but will also do community outreach work as well, like visit nursing homes and veteran centers.
"On a daily basis, (Marlea will) just be here for when (officers) get back from those tough calls or that difficult call that (dispatchers) have taken and ... dogs seem to sense when someone is struggling with something."
Thousands of suggestions poured into the police department helping them pick the name Marlea Grace.