By Carol Britton Meyer
Opry, a mixed-breed rescue pup who traveled here from Texas, recently joined the Hingham Police Department as a comfort dog to promote healing and wellness in the community.
Opry, who celebrated her first birthday recently with a party at the Senior Center, was bred specifically to be a comfort dog. She was donated to HPD by PAWS New England and funded through a Plymouth County District Attorney's Office grant.
Opry lives with her handler, Hingham High School Resource Officer Thomas Ford, and his family.
"Opry will be a community-wide resource and will have a broad skill set in how to handle stress in children and adults who are going through traumatic incidents, police officers, town employees, and others in stressful situations," Ford said recently.
Opry's temperament is uniquely suited for her new role as a comfort dog, offering a calming presence to help victims of trauma or those in crisis, according to Hingham Police Chief David Jones.
Opry is also available to visit schools, assisted living communities, and other locations upon request. All Opry's care and training are through private funding and donations.
In a press release, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz noted that Opry is the first-ever comfort dog to serve with the Hingham Police "and is a great addition to the Department and to the Hingham Community. . . . Opry has developed a comforting presence and commands smiles wherever she goes," he said.