John Gray is a school resource officer with Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office in Colorado. John works with his partner named Rex. Rex is a certified police therapy dog who works with elementary school students. He is specially trained to provide them with comfort during times of crisis, help students with special needs and help those suffering from anxiety or depression. Together they also teach school safety, internet safety and mentor students of all ages.
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Hi everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of Enduring the Badge Podcast. I'm host Jerry Dean Lund, and I don't want you to miss an upcoming episode, so please hit that subscribe button. And while your phone's out, please do me a favor and give us a review on iTunes or our Apple Podcast. It says, Hey, this podcast has a great message and we should send it out to more people.
So please take that 30 seconds to a minute to do that review and just maybe by doing that, it'll. Up into someone's podcast feed that really needs this message. Hey everyone, before we jump into this next. I want to talk to you about the two coaching programs I offer. I offer one on relationships, and I offer one on mindset.
The relationship program is very extensive and dives down deeply into your relationship so you can know what is making it great and know what is not. Making it great. And how to solve those problems. And I know it's very difficult these days, especially if we're just being moms and dads and running around in this crazy world.
Our relationships can go from thriving to barely surviving. And I know if you're like. Me, you want your relationship to last forever. My other program is on mindset. I want you to have the mindset that is going to help you discover your inner wisdom and motivation and is gonna cause you to grow to your truest potential.
That mindset is gonna make you successful, not just on the job, but off the. Where it's just as important to be successful, and that will create the life that you desire for a lifetime. My very special guest today is John Gray from Raphoe County Sheriff's Department, and he's gonna talk about his partner Rex.
Rex was received from back the blue canine force, and Rex is a dual certified lab that is certified in gun detection. And a therapy dog. John is gonna talk about how he uses Rex in his day to day operations at the schools, and what training Rex had to get before he could get into the schools as well. So listen to how John uniquely uses this dog in his day to day operations of the school to help the school be safe and to help your kids with their mental health.
Now let's jump right into. So how you doing, John? Doing good. Thank you for having us. Yeah. Thank you for being on. Appreciate you taking the, taking the time to be on. Can you introduce yourself to the audience and tell the audience a little bit about what you're doing? Yeah, so, uh, my name is John Gray and I'm a school resource officer with Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office in Colorado.
And I have, um, a very unique. School canine partner that works with me and his name is Rex. And Rex is a Labrador retriever. Um, and he is dual certified, which is kind of the unique part. So he is, um, both certified in, um, gun detection so he can actually find guns, ammunition, pipe bombs and things like that.
But then he is also, um, certified as a therapy dog. So we work full time in schools. That's, that's, that is definitely unique, I think nowadays. I mean, that's, that's awesome to have a dog that can do both. What's a certification process like that to have a dual trained dog like that? You know, we, we kind of have a unique process.
We get the dogs eight weeks, um, and they start their training immediately with Aler. So, That eight to 16 week period with the puppy is really just a lot of socialization, getting them exposed to all the unique environments as you guys know that law enforcement are in. Right. It could be, we could be in really loud, crazy, chaotic environments, or it could be a quiet school setting with just me, the student, the counselor, and Rex, right?
And so, um, we, we take those first eight weeks there and we start the socialization process. Then after. Really the whole first year of life is, um, an obedience training and socialization. That entire year. And so we meet the same, um, obedience requirements for all of our police dogs. But then in order to get certified as a therapy dog, we have to be able to show obedience in like a lot of strange environments like I would imagine a lunch room, right?
You know, a dog is laying on the floor in the lunchroom and there's, you know, I'm sure many people could remember the ary or middle school lunchroom is not a clean floor. Right? Right. There's lots of food all over. And so a lot of that training is just, you know, making sure that the dog's not gonna be taking food and things like that.
And, um, we go on elevators and escalators and, um, lots of. Again, it's a lot of really, you know, obedience in, in a social environment. But then one thing I think a lot of people don't know when they think of like a therapy dog, I hear 'em call 'em like comfort dogs a lot. Mm-hmm. , when you say that, it kind of takes the science out of it.
So the real training comes from patterning the dog to understand. Because they can actually smell our hormonal change. Yeah. So we have a student who's upset, we take the dog to that person over and over and over again, and before they know it, the dog picks up on that odor and they know, Hey, when I smell that, I'm supposed to go sit with this student or this person.
So that I think is one of the most important things we train, is how the dog interacts with people when they're. Yeah. That's super cool. That's, and, and you're right, right. Taking out the science out of it is, uh, when I is, is not great. I think when a comfort dog, right? That's your personal pet kind of type of thing.
And you want to cuddle and, and hold it. Not the same type of dog that we're talking about. Uh, Rex here, so yeah. What about his other part of his training? So, I mean, that's the first year socialization and stuff like that, but what about his. His, like, I guess gun detection, things like that. Yep. Yeah. So at a year we, once we test the dogs out on their therapy work and we get them certified, then we start training, um, on whatever scent discipline, like, so for Rex, he, um, we did black powder obviously, so that, so black powder is the scent we trained him on.
Um, and so that, that process, It depends on the dog and how fast they really pick stuff up. But, um, we train with, um, our handler who has a, an explosives dog. His name is Ta. He's a good trainer. Um, you know, it's, it was about a three month process or process. So again, it's a lot of repetition, you know, Um, we use buckets and we do a lot of bucket training just like they do with drug dogs.
And, um, people think we have these, this fancy equipment and then they see us a field with Home Depot buckets or in a room, like, what if those cops doing, you know? But yeah. Again, that's kinda what we do. We just use buckets and we walk the dogs down the buckets, and the second their nose hits that odor, we wanna imprint them on.
We reward them like crazy, and after thousands of repetitions and then we start kind of breaking down and get rid of the buckets and start just kind of doing some real simple hides. Before you know it, they just, the game is on and, um, it's been pretty incredible. Just, I, I will say a couple weeks back we got called out.
Three different times in the week just for kind of assistance to patrol on gun related calls. One of them was involving, uh, juvenile. So, um, you know, even when you're out of the school, you're still kinda kind of impacting the youth, which is kind of a neat, a neat thing. Yeah. Yeah. So that's, that takes a lot of time.
Thousands of repetitions take a lot of time and patience on your. Oh yeah, it's a process. And that's the thing with training dogs, I mean, for anything really. I think a lot of people are like, How do you guys train your dogs so well? And I'm like, Well, in all fairness, we do get to train all day. You know, we have all day, every day.
And, and even when we're working, it's, it's kind of really training for the dog, right? And so, It. The scent work, I think is, is really important though, because lately we get a lot of questions, What are you guys doing for school safety? No matter where you're located in country, it's a topic people wanna know about, you know?
And I feel better as a school resource officer knowing we have an answer, right. Perfect answer. No, but it's another layer of something that we can use where, hey, we get a report that maybe a kid's in possession of a firearm and we can help the school out by doing some locker sniffs. Right. Or something like that.
And it's just, You know, for me as a parent and as a, as a deputy, it's, it's kinda reassuring knowing that we have just another tool. Yeah. Yeah. That's a pretty, pretty great tool. It's just a little bit mind boggling that that tool can do to do both roles, you know? And, um, what did the kids think about that, knowing that it can do both roles?
I think you know, it, it's really funny because. Kids always wanna know, not about if they pet. They do wanna know that too, but they're like, Well, what missions has he gone on lately? Yeah. , I think that's really the interesting part, right? Is there's other therapy dogs in our district, in our school district that we work in that are not with officers that are actually with like counselors and mental health, um, staff, but mm-hmm.
but I've been in the school and watched the kids walk right past those dogs to come pet Rex. Yeah. And I try to think it's because, He has a badge, he has a job, and it's unique, right? They don't always get to go up and pet a police dog. So I think that they think it's cool and, and the older kids think that it's, I think some of them get a sense of comfort from it, you know?
And yeah, they don't know exactly how it works. And every dog is kind of different. You know, you go to the airport and the airport dogs, they kind of, they're using their nose in a different way than our dogs. Yeah. And so it's, it's definitely interesting. The kids definitely are, uh, are interested with the dog in general, let alone that, you know?
Yeah. I would imagine that probably helps, right? Having them be interested in the dog just would help you move through the school and, you know, form those bonds with the, with the kids. Yeah. And, and actually, you know, Kind of interesting too, because we've had a lot of stuff go on in Colorado and, and Denver, um, police department recently got rid of their school resource officer program and, you know, I think a lot of places around the country started looking at that.
And, you know, our agency, while other people were getting rid of theirs, we doubled the size of ours, we added more, We were even covering schools that were in another service area just to help out, you know, And yeah, I think it's supposed to show, you know, our sheriff Tyler Brown is, is. Very passionate about school safety.
And so, um, building those relationships now with kids that are in elementary school mm-hmm. , I don't think how important people realize that is when it comes time to those kids being, you know, middle high school and then adults. Right. And Right. Their, their comfort with law enforcement and their understanding is, is 10 times better, You know?
Right. Right. They don't have the C law enforce. You know, they see it maybe in probably the proper light that it should be seen instead of maybe some of the things they picked up watching TV or hearing other people talk about it. But yeah, form that bond that's, that's incredible at the young age. Yeah.
And it gives a good chance too, for us to also, you know, like we've got a lot of kids cuz we have, um, Several different school districts that we, we work in and um, we have lots of students, you know, the school district that I'm, that I'm in alone, we have 16,000 kids in our service area and um, you know, Cherry Creek Schools is one of our bigger school districts.
We've got 22 elementary schools alone. You know, and so when you start looking at how big this population of students is, you know, you wanna make sure you're making a difference and that. You know, and, and I think people are worried, Oh, well, is my student gonna get in trouble because we have a police officer in the building?
And it's like, that's not what we're there for. You know? Right. We're there to educate kids and to kind of give them more of that mentorship piece where it's like, Hey, I wanna guide a kid to not make the wrong choice. Right, right, right. Then charge a kid for, you know, having something silly in his backpack.
Right. Yeah. And so, you know, it's kind of a. Role. And when you think about it, it's one of kind of the last true, you know, community policing oriented jobs that we have at the sheriff's office. I know the patrols out there, they, they do community policing, but I mean, that's like 90% of what my job is, you know,
Yeah. Yeah. So you cover multiple schools, not just one. Yeah, I have, I'm assigned to eight, so I have eight elementary schools, and then I also help out at the middle school and the high school that are in my, my service area. So, um, that's Arapo High School in Newton Middle School. And so that's, we're all in the Littleton, um, public schools school district.
Um, and so. You know, it's, we, we are still county employees, so again, we go to other schools and help out the Yeah. As kind of need it. But those are what my typical assignments are. So it's kinda nice with the dog to be able to go school to school, you know? Yeah, definitely, definitely. I'm sure it's, uh, it's nice for you and the dog to get out and about.
Uh, being stuck in one school is probably less desirable, . Oh. Yeah, no, definitely. And, and it gives him breaks too. Cause you know, it can be, no matter how well trained the dog is, it, it's a lot, you know, elementary school kids are a lot on a dog. And so, yeah, it gives them a nice break to have some quiet time in the car.
And then we'll go play outside and then go back into the next school and, and they call us too, you know, which is kind of neat that they call us, but not for necessarily a law enforcement response. Sometimes it's, Hey, we have this kid who's really anxious about. Going back to class or going to school, or we have a kid who, um, you know, who has autism, who's escalated, and we have three staff members in there and they're not making any progress.
You know, And usually I can put the dog in there and have him lay down and the kids can kind of approach him at their own pace. And before you know, it, we're solving situations without me even talking, you know, just I got pulled in a leash, you know? Right. It's kind of a neat tool for even the school staff to kind of be able to rely on.
So yeah. And that takes energy for the dog to do these type of things. Just even laying there on the floor is, you know, uh, is still an energy drain for these dogs. Yeah. You're right. And that's actually kind of why we looked at, um, we got Rex in 2021. Um, and so he is just over a year and a half now. Um, and you know, the, the neat thing was, is.
We thought this program would be successful, you know, and we, and we truly believe that, and we worked hard to make that happen, but we didn't know how big it was gonna be and how quick that was gonna expand. And so, um, we now have three dogs that do this, and we're looking at adding two more this spring.
So we'll have five of these dogs just, um, assigned to our schools, which I think is pretty neat. You know, it's, and, and all the dogs will. For the most part, have an, have their own specialty, which will be the scent too, so. Mm-hmm. , um, you know, I think we're, our goal is to have a dog that can do electronics that can actually find electronics.
And what we'll use that dog for is evidentiary hardware. Um, you know, with our internet crimes against children mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . So even, you know, just doing search warrants with investigators to. You know, maybe a hard drive that has inappropriate pictures of a kid on there. Right. And so we're still impacting youth safety even outside the school.
Right. Or maybe adding another that can do guns on the other side of our, you know, our, our county. And so it's kind of neat to be able to, to do this when, you know, police canines are expensive. Right? Yeah. Looking at a $15,000 dog without them being trained. Yeah. We're buying hunting labs. Um, you know, they're, they're good bloodline hunting dogs and, but they're labs, you know, they're gentle and they just want attention and wanna be pet.
And so it's been pretty neat to watch, like you said, kind of how they're, they are dual purpose and you know how. How we can impact in kind of two completely different ways. And so, um, hopefully I've, I've seen more of these dogs start popping up. I know everybody's using them a little bit differently. , but yeah, that's, I wanna go back a little bit to, you know, where you're talking about the, a dog that smells for electronics and stuff like that.
Explain, explain to the audience a little bit, like how, how that works a little bit. Yeah, it's probably one of the strangest things you hear, right? You're like, Well, there's electronics everywhere, so how do you do that? So it's kind of a unique thing. And I would say across the country, there's actually very few dogs that do this there.
There's probably less than 300 dogs in the United States that do that. Yeah. Um, what they do is every, every, uh, like remote control or, um, basically chip micro. Has a heat coating on it, and, uh, it's a powdered coating that dries clear, but they put that heat coating on there and it's to keep all the devices from getting hot.
But that, that coating is what we, we, uh, imprint and train the dogs on. And it's a little bit different for cell phones than it is for like hard drives and usb. So we actually have two odors there. So you do the heat, um, the heat, basically powder that's on those USBs. And then for the cell phones, it's got, they have their own little like, um, scent, you know, that they've put together.
So you, we buy all of our stuff from obviously manufacturers that, that provide dog training, um, equipment for the mil, you know, military and police. But, um, you know, so what getting these dogs up and running is, is key. You know, I can take my dog in and we know that a gun shouldn't be somewhere, right. But when you take a.
To a house where there's electronics everywhere. You're doing a lot more direct at searching, so, you know, searching air ducts, searching a refrigerator that, you know, yeah, some of these refrigerators might have a screen on 'em, but there's in your, you know, ketchup container, right? Yeah. So looking at all those weird spots where, We can have law enforcement come in and search, you're just gonna be there for a really long time, you know?
Yeah. Um, so that part of it is, is really kind of neat. So I, I, what I've seen these dogs use for mostly is search warrants. Um, You know, especially then when we're doing a lot of like our more undercover type work, um, you know, they're, they're using these dogs to assist to make the, the searching time a lot shorter.
But, um, it's unfortunate that we have to have a unit that's specifically right, but we want make sure we're protecting kids, you know? And um, I know just a few years back, Colorado was one of the highest. Um, in fact, at one point we were number one for human trafficking and, um, in the country and, you know, Shocking.
Yeah. Location plays a part in that, you know, the, the highway corridor coming from, um, our southern border. And so when you start looking at how do we make sure that we're doing everything we can, you know, as an agency to keep kids safe, this is one. Key component, right? Hey, we've got a, that can now, um, you know, make sure that cuz kids are impulsive, you know, they get online start talking and they're, they just choices.
And you know, they, they might talk to somebody they've never met before, you know, and they don't realize what kind of danger they're putting themselves in. But that's where this dog comes into play and it's kind of cool cause um, you know, we also teach. Classes in the schools through a program. It's called the YES Program.
Hey everyone, have you lost that loving feeling because life has you so stressed out and you're just being moms and dads now and just running around like crazy and the passion in your relationship is gone and you don't make it a priority anymore? Well, let me help you with that. I offer a free 15 minute discovery call that you can book on during the badge website, or you can just reach out to me on anyone social media platforms.
And I will get back to you as soon as possible. And we teach about, we call it digital citizenship, but that's really internet safety, right? Mm-hmm. . And so I think it kind of goes full circle, right? We're teaching about internet safety and then we have dogs that are out there that can, you know, or that we'll be able to eventually find these electronic devices, kind of help us out in these cases to protect.
Kids, these cases. Yeah, it, that's, it's, that part has just always been super fascinating to me. You know, just the, what dogs can really do and the many different roles they play in. Yeah. And all the first responder disciplines, you know, there's military, police, fire, like they're all over the place doing something, some kind of.
And you're seeing them pop up more now. I mean, I know the fire department went away from dogs for a little bit, but even they're bringing more dogs back and Yeah. You know, in law enforcement, we've always thought of dogs and I don't like sound negative, but in a linear way, right? Like dogs are, we use 'em for one thing.
Yeah. Control, Use, you know, not narcotics and bite work and finding suspects and you know, even for SWAT use, right? And stuff like that. But there's really a lot of uses, you know, that a dog can play. Even for our own cops, you know, like I know that sometimes you get a lot of laughs when you know, you say therapy dog, but then when you see 20 SWAT guys on the ground petting a dog, it's like, you know.
Yeah. Because we all, you know, we all need that. Right? And so one of those things, and so it's. It's kind of impactful and it's really cool to see how this program's expanding. Not in our agency alone, but just nationwide. Kind of seeing more people find cool uses for dogs. That's pretty cool. Do you see like the dog reducing people's therapy?
Maybe like say that you do have a student or something that may be in a little bit of trouble. Do you see the dog maybe reduce its anxiety, the kid's anxiety, and then maybe want to kind of work with you a little bit easier or confess maybe or something? I think it definitely makes kids calmer in interviews because it's not so.
You know, Uhoh, I'm sitting here with a cop now and all they're focused on is my equipment and am I going in handcuffs or am I in trouble? In all reality, the chance of all that is low. Right? Um, and so it definitely, it plays a key role, I would say, in calming their mind and allowing them, like you said, kind of to just talk more naturally about what happened.
Because a lot of times kids are not in trouble, but they think they are. Right? Yeah. Or even victims, right? Like right. It'd be scary for a 13 year old kid to come in and tell a story about what happened to him or her at school. And so now you do it with the dog and they're a lot more comfortable, you know?
And so, I mean, we've even looked at. What does this look like for adults? Because the opportunities that you have with these do, you're kind of only limited by your own creativity, right? Sure. And so even for people, you know, let's say you're on a SWAT call and you have a barricade, right? And you have victims that are in there that were, you know, in a pretty traumatic situation, you bring them out rather than just sit down right away with an investigator, you have him sit with the dog.
Yeah. And now they're petting the dog and they start smiling a little bit more. And now it's, as you're talking to them, just like the students, their mind is off of it. It's not such a high stress situation. So it, it's another awesome part of that, you know, and, and kids that are really going through a lot of like mental health situations too.
That's hard to talk about some of that stuff, you know? And I think the counselors have noticed the value of the dogs. Even when, even when talking to kids, like in that role. So, yeah. Yeah, I definitely could see that. This is, might be a little bit off topic, but I mean, what do you see that is leading to like, like we're talking a little bit about mental health for kids.
Like do you see something that's leading or a cause, a common cause of this? Yeah, I, I hate to blame technology, but , I think the thing we know, right, is that over time, this, and this has been studied pretty, pretty thoroughly. This current generation of kids has the lowest functioning emotional intelligence ever recorded.
And a lot of people don't talk about emotional intelligence, but it's a, it's an important thing when you think about a kid, right? Being able to. They're happy or sad or somebody is stressed, right? So we take a, it is really weird, but we take a, in our presentations, a slide and it has just expressions on it.
Kids cannot properly identify the different facial cues. So they don't know if stressed, frustrated, sad, right? They know happy face cuz they send those emojis all the time. But because they're not communicating face to face, it's making it that much harder. For them to, to truly be empathetic, to understand others' emotions.
Right? Yeah. And so when we start pairing that, um, you know, with maybe something like adhd mm-hmm. , right? Where you have, you have lower emotional intelligence, they're not very empathetic and they're very impulsive. Yeah. That's a situation for disaster, right? Yeah. And so, I don't know if there's necessarily just one cause, but I do think that that's something that's really taking us down a bad road.
And, and you know, there's people that I think get motivated by different things in life. You know, whether that's whatever your motivat, you know, Hey, I wanna learn to work out. Yeah. You know, you go find motivation. Well, you know, sometimes kids find good motivation online and sometimes they find bad motivation online.
Yeah. You know, and, and I, I try to encourage parents all the time, like, Hey, If you hand a kid a device, it's like sending them down an alleyway downtown at night. You just don't know what they're gonna run into. Yeah. So you know, kids now, even when we talk in our schools about internet safety, I'm like, you're seeing kids that are finding pornography as early as five because they click, they go down the rabbit hole and you know they're playing a little game that's innocent.
Sure. But then they click. Then the ad takes some, all these other things and before you know it, they're seeing this explicit content. You know, their brains not developed already for that. You know, our brains don't even fully develop until you're almost 30. Yeah. I mean, we think twenties we were not decisions as you are when you're in your thirties, right?
Yeah, Yeah. That it is interesting, you know, The people that are targeting kids are, are creative, right? They, they, they know how to manipulate them and, you know, get them down into these rabbit holes and they're, they're, I feel like, you know, right? Criminals are always testing new ways to do, to do things.
Um, and talking about having kids, having devices like, you know, you're starting, kids are starting to get random messages, you know, from people or random pitchers from people they have no, have no contact with ever and starting to show up on their phones. And it's like they're always probing, right?
Criminals are always probing. Yeah, and we we're trying to teach 'em to stay a step ahead, right? Like, you can't not use technology. Unfortunately, it's, it's part of our life, right? And so how do we teach kids how to safely use technology? Yeah. Because, you know, even my, my son who's in elementary school is a third grader.
I mean, he is using the internet in class, right? They're using YouTube and things like this to watch videos to learn, right? And. You know, we, since we can't remove that, the best thing we could do is really teach them how to at least be safe on there, you know? And, and I think this all kind of comes together really, you know, like the things that we're teaching in the classroom and then having the school resource officer in the school mm-hmm.
and having the dog, it all pairs nicely to kind of get the kids on the right track. And, and honestly, this makes a difference for even our patrol officers. Right. Cause yeah. Hopefully spending more educated kids, you know, as far as safety's concerned and law is concerned in our community to become young adults that make good choices.
Right, Right. Time vested early on in children's lives. Pays off dividends, you know, down the road. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. No, it's definitely unique. Yeah. John, how do, how pe, how can people support a program like this where they're, you know, departments are getting dogs? You know, for us, um, specifically we have a nonprofit called Back the Blue Canine Force.
Um, and it's kind of cool because they actually purchase all of our protective equipment for our dogs. They actually purchase all of our dogs. The county hasn't allowed to buy a a any of our police dogs. We've had over 13 dogs. So, um, it's cool cuz we get a lot of community of support from events that we do.
Yeah. And then all that support goes directly to back the blue and then they can help us out and get what we need. Now, I know for, for us, we're always looking at how can we do bigger and better community events to bring more people out to see what we're doing. , Um, it's kind of exciting. In, in 2022 we did our first Rex run and so it was a 5K and people could come out.
We had all sorts of stuff to do there, um, in for kids, and people could bring their dogs and if they didn't wanna run, they could just walk. Um, and it was to really raise awareness for our program. But then we also raised money and that money that we raised from that was able to purchase, um, ballistic vests for all of our patrol dogs.
And it also bought, um, another therapy dog to be used in schools. And so, um, now we have a new dog and he's a, he's a puppy now, but he's our third dog. And so when you ask about like, support, coming to events is huge no matter where you're located. You know, there's, there's, I'm sure events that you're local agencies, um, and there's nonprofits and, and now a lot, I think I've seen too, a lot of agencies are starting to get their own nonprofit so that people.
Because you know, obviously people can't just come give money to your PD and then you use that, you have something set up for that. And so, um, which is hard, you know, cuz then people are like, Hey, we wanna show our support. How do we do that? You know? And the cost of these dogs, by the time for us, for our department, by the time we look at the dog equipping the officer and, and getting a car fully functional is about 10,000.
Um, and you know, while that seems high, again, I go back to that's the cost. A patrol dog that. Just got here in a kennel from overseas, you know? And so yeah, we're trying to get as much bang for our buck so that we can really serve our community and be conscious of, of funds too. So, um, I'd encourage people, you know, show up at events if you, if you're curious, um, Our dogs actually have their own social media pages,
So our dogs have Instagram and TikTok try to put fun stuff on there and it's all kid appropriate content. And even though we're trying to, obviously, like I said, you know, we wanna make sure we're not encouraging too much social media, but at the same time, if they're gonna be on there, I'd rather give 'em something positive to look at.
Yeah. Yeah. Um, But we put stuff on there about our events and, and back the blue, um, you know, they have a, a link and so if people wanna donate or be a part of back the blue, they can. Um, and so it's, it's kind of neat to see, you know, places like Back the Blue Canine for supporting agencies. And I know that there's, you know, no matter what state you're from, there's a lot of people out there that just wanna.
Yeah, and I could see, I'm not sure how this would work with Back to Blue, but I'm sure like, um, I'll say I wanted to bring a dog to Salt Lake City. Like I could probably work with Back to Blue and generate some funding to make that happen with Salt Lake City. Yeah. And they have so many, like the, the thing that you learn, especially when you get into law enforcement, especially with dogs, is people are so connected across the country, you know, so it's so great to be able to say, Hey, I wanna know something about Georgia, and I can get ahold of, you know, a canine handler.
I can get ahold of, you know, PD there, and they'll gimme great resources. Hey, this is a non-profit that we use, right? Or these are events we do to help raise money. Or just like you're saying, you know, you wanna bring a program to Salt Lake. There's people that I guarantee you will be like, Oh, we can use this funding stream.
And you know, and even back to canine Force, knowing that they're maybe connected with other non-profits in other states. There's so many great resources out there, and a lot of people don't know this too, but if you're a grant writer, Which I can own it. You're a good person at writing grants. Um, there's a lot of money out there for mental health and it's, it's, it's being, I feel like untapped, but there's a lot of money you can use that talks about mental health and you can use it to set up a therapy dog program because the therapy dog actually fits right into some of the mental health, um, you know, avenues that you can go down to.
Treat or help with mental health. Yeah. Um, and another, you know, we've had some smaller agencies. We just hosted a class recently on how to start this program and we had 10 agencies attend. Um, and, and the whole point is kind of just to say, Hey, we know that we might not have the perfect way to do this, but here's how we did this.
And just try to help them because go look at therapy dog up online and you're gonna find. A hundred different places trying to sell you a hundred different things, right? That's where it gets kind of confusing. And so finding a, a clear route to how do we do this and how are we, how can we be nationally recognized and how can we make sure we're doing this correctly?
Cause you know, anytime you have an animal, it's a, it can be a liability to your agency, so you wanna make sure you do it correctly, um, and that you train the dog adequately and do all those things, but, We're, I know our agency myself include that. We're always here to help to see if we can, if, you know, we've had a, somebody from Texas called us recently.
If we can get you information on your program or we can help you in any way, we'd love to do that. Yeah. It's, it is still a community, right? We're, we're all a community part of the, a better and bigger community, and sharing this information is incredibly helpful. And having a go-to person, you know, is, is essential.
Otherwise you're spinning your, kind of, spinning your wheels and trying to recreate something that some already created. Yeah. And some places don't have canine units. Right. And so, you know, it's hard to then, then you gotta create policy for an agency that's never had a dog. Yeah. You know where we've done that.
So it, we, if we can help somebody, you know, that's all we're trying to do. Yeah. Awesome. John, where are some of the social media places? Um, where are they? Where can they find Rex and, uh, maybe the, you know, the other dogs? Yeah, so we made our, our, our Instagram is hopefully, I think it's pretty easy, so it's Arapahoe, Rex, and then sro.
And there's just an underscore in between, but you don't even have to put that in and still comes up. But we've made it easy cause all of our dogs start with Arapahoe. And then just has their name. So if it's not Rex, we have Zeke, who's Rex's younger brother. And then we have Riley, who's their nephew, who now works for us.
So it's kinda a family situation here of dogs, but, um, so it, it's kind of cool because we put fun stuff, like I said, on their Instagram accounts. And then the TikTok is the same, same exact handle. So, um, it's just a rappa. Rex or Riley or Zeke and then SRO at the end. So, um, you know, we hope people follow us and, and, and the goal there is getting information out or, you know, taking your mind off your day with just a funny dog video or Yeah, simple like that.
And it's kind of a neat way to be able to interact with a lot of the high school students, cuz I'll be honest, we go into. There are kids that are interacting with the dog that I'm 99% sure would not be hanging out with if the dog wasn't there. Right. But now the dog is there. They will talk to me and before you know it, I come in without the dog and they're like, Hey, where's your dog at?
And before you know, talking, Right. And then, you know, social media now reaching maybe kids who. I don't know, maybe they're, they're at home now or they're doing homeschool, but they used to go to that school or, Or maybe they're quiet and they don't wanna come up and talk to you, but they'll still kinda interact in some way.
Right. That's awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today and you know, providing some great, great content. I think it's, I would love to see this being pushed out through all the schools throughout the country. I think that just is a, is a game changer to have a dual certified dog. Yeah. We appreciate you having us on here.
And, and like I said, it, it's just there's so many law enforcement agencies across the country and if we can just work together to find different ways that we can better serve our community, it just makes it that much. Much easier for us all to do our jobs and these dogs, they are, It's pretty incredible.
It's pretty incredible. So I, I hope if anybody has questions, you know, that is watching the show and wants to reach out, um, I'm more than happy to share my email or contact information and I'd be more than happy to help. Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. What, um, what is your email? It's, uh, J as in John and then Gray, g r a email@example.com.
So, you know, people, if people want to reach out on my, uh, to me via email or even Instagram, I, I have to manage, we manage our own Instagrams. I can always get in touch with somebody through there and Okay. Um, help however we. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much for being on. Yeah. Thanks for having us. Yeah, thank you for listening, and please remember to reach out to me if you're struggling with your mindset, your marriage, or any aspects of mental health.
I'm here to help you. Thanks again for listening. Don't forget to rate and review the show wherever you access your podcast. If you know someone that would be great on the show, please get a hold of our host, Jerry Dean L through the Instagram handles at Jerry Bar and Fuel, or at Enduring The Badge Podcast.
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