South Mississippi Strong: Therapy dog brings joy in Pascagoula - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippi Strong: Therapy dog brings joy in Pascagoula

Griffin joined the force last year (Source: WLOX) Griffin joined the force last year (Source: WLOX)
Griffin has his own bed in the department's conference room (Source: WLOX) Griffin has his own bed in the department's conference room (Source: WLOX)
Griffin's favorite place is where the treats are (Source: WLOX) Griffin's favorite place is where the treats are (Source: WLOX)
Those at the department agree Griffin is a great addition to the team (Source: WLOX) Those at the department agree Griffin is a great addition to the team (Source: WLOX)
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

To "Protect and Serve" is the oath of all police officers and it's no different when the officer has four paws. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Griffin, an 8-year-old black lab, is on the clock and tasked with an important duty.

"His job here is to help with victims of crime," said Anna Raiola, administrative assistant for the Pascagoula Police Department.

Griffin is the department's first therapy dog. His eyes have seen a lot, and now his mission is to help those who have also seen a lot get through it.

"I mean how comforting is this: if you've witnessed some crime and you're having to talk about it, and he's just right there, calming and comforting you," said Raiola.

For years, Raiola wanted to bring in a therapy dog. Griffin ended up at the department after being surrendered by his owner, and it turned out that he fit all of the qualifications to launch the program. In the few months since he's joined the force, Griffin has taken on more than what was originally in his job description.

"He is much needed around here. I think everybody would agree. Everybody that comes around him, just has a glow, a glow on them," said Khristen Hollimon.

The daily stressors at the police department are no match for Griffin's calm demeanor.

"When you have a hard day at work and he's there, he puts his head on your lap and makes it all better," said Officer Rachel Gillen.

"He's a wonderful dog. He's so beautiful smart and he brings comfort," said Ariana Ortiz.

"It's relaxing. He comes in if I'm having a stressful day, he comes in and hangs out in the office. I love it," said Derek Egan.

"I think everyone just seems more chipper. In fact, when we walk in, nobody really says good morning to me, its always good morning, Griffin. Good morning, Griffin. How you doing, Griffin? How was your weekend?" said Raiola.

Not that Raiola minds Griffin getting all the attention. She knows, like all officers, Griffin is steadfast in his mission to make a difference. 

"He's changed their lives, bringing them joy and comfort and also the people in the community, and the victims and family of crime that they have experienced. It changes their life."

Griffin also is known for taking trips to the domestic violence shelter and city hall.

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