There’s a fuzzy new face at the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office as a new K-9 has joined the department as a therapy dog.
The DCSO introduced Otto, a Bernese mountain dog, as its newest addition Tuesday morning at its substation on U.S. Route 23. Otto has been partnered with Deputy Keith Cox, who said the pair will work with victims of crime as well as the community.
“I’m super excited,” Cox said Thursday. “It’s a new program for the sheriff’s office. We’re hopefully going to be able to help victims and the community. We’re hoping to work with the prosecutor’s office and help victims of crime, and also probably work with elementary schools, middle schools and nursing homes.”
Cox said he’s only been working with Otto for a short time, and Otto has only done one training session so far. The focus of Otto’s training at the moment is socialization, Cox added. Otto will then move on to obedience training before taking part in therapy dog training.
Cox currently serves as a patrol deputy, but once Otto’s training is complete, he will be given the title of therapy dog handler, which involves more community relations work.
“I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can about K-9 (therapy),” Cox said, adding the program is modeled after the therapy dog program in Franklin County.
Otto, Cox added, was picked out by the staff at Franklin County.
“They really liked him,” Cox said. “We’re really happy with his behavior. He has a good personality.”
Cox said Otto is named after Dan Otto, who was a detective at the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office until his death in a off-duty car crash in 2012.
“To continue his legacy, they named him after Dan Otto to continue helping victims,” Cox said. “Dan was a detective and fought for victims and tried to help protect them, and they want Otto to continue that legacy by helping victims of crimes and wherever we can plug him into the community.”
Dan Otto’s family was in attendance at the presentation Tuesday, and Cox said introducing Otto to them was “great.”
“It was definitely a special moment,” he said.
Cox is looking forward to taking Otto out in the community, and he said residents can help out by greeting the dog and getting him used to people.
“Hopefully, if you see him in the community, make sure to say ‘hi,’” Cox said. “That’s part of his training and socialization. To help us train him to react to all kinds of situations, he needs to be able to react to all people in the community.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.