THERAPY K-9 PROGRAM
Elkhart Lake is the first police department to implement a therapy dog at a law enforcement agency in Sheboygan County. This addition would not have been possible without the continued support of Elkhart Cares and an anonymous donor. “These are trying times for all in our community,” Chief Michael Meeusen expressed. “We appreciate the generous donations from community members that have allowed us to bring this important program to our employees and the public.”
The mission of the Elkhart Lake Police Therapy K9 program is to encourage and cultivate positive relationships with the community and school district students and staff. The Elkhart Lake Police Department wants to proactively engage with citizens and students who may be struggling with trauma, mental health concerns, or may benefit from a dog being present.
The Elkhart Lake Police Department looks forward to the further development of this program and the impact it will make on not only the department but the entire Elkhart Lake community. If you are interested in working with our agency on this program please contact Chief Meeusen at MMeeusen@elkhartlakewi.gov or 920-876-2244.
The Elkhart Lake Police Department received Copper as a donation from Blueberry Cottage Labradoodles in the Spring of 2022. This is the first therapy dog in the Sheboygan County area and will allow the department to better serve the citizens and students in the Elkhart Lake area.
Both citizens and students can experience positive mental and physical health benefits by interacting with a comfort dog. Petting and interacting with the dog is a non-threatening, non-judgmental way of helping break down mental and emotional barriers.
Mental Health Benefits
- Decrease in stress and anxiety, experienced from post-traumatic stress disorder
- Decreases loneliness and aggressive behaviors
- Increases in socialization with an outward focus, including opportunities for laughter and a sense of happiness and well-being
- Increases in spirit, self-esteem, and feeling of acceptance, enabling a patient to further participate in mental and physical therapy; to be more involved in group activities, and to accept social and emotional support
- Provides a sense of belonging and gives unconditional love.
- Decreases the stress hormone cortisol
- Improvement in motor skills including standing balance, wheelchair, and other physical skills
- Increases in hormones associated with health and feeling of well-being
- Encourages communication
- Helps children overcome speech and emotional disorders
- Increased focus and attention through hands-on interaction
Daily Duties of a Comfort Dog
- Daily duties (extension of handler)
- Public events (National Night Out, Shop with a Cop, Graduation, Downtown Night)
- Community outreach and engagement
- Major/traumatic incidents
- School literacy programs, career fair, and demonstrations
- Grief loss and trauma (Both within the Police Department and schools)
- Natural disaster incidents
- Victim forensic interviews
- Criminal investigations / interviews
- Crisis intervention
- Medical facility visits (hospitals, nursing homes, VA clinics, etc.)
- Staff wellness
40 Pine Street, P.O. Box 578
Elkhart Lake, WI 53020
FOR EMERGENCIES DIAL 911
Michael Meeusen, Chief of Police
Scott Niemi, Police Investigator
& School Liaison Officer
Travis Auch, Police Officer
Brenda Garcia, Police Officer
Dannette Wigen, Administrative Assistant