There's a new dog on the Acushnet police force.

The dog was a gift from Melissa “MJ” Viera of MJ's Pet Training Academy in Acushnet, and will be used as an emotional support animal by K9 handler and school resource officer Derek Cathcart.

The 11-week-old poodle still has not been named, and that is priority No. 1. Naming the puppy is needed in order to begin formal training.

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The public can submit name ideas on the Acushnet Police Department's Facebook page. The poodle is expected to be named in the next day or two, with the final decision being made by the Acushnet police chief and Cathcart.

"These types of poodles are specifically bred for this role," Chief Chris Richmond said. "They are very intelligent dogs, very good around people. They're easy to train and are allergy-friendly."

The program came to light after Cathcart attended a police conference this past spring.  A social media post was made and MJ's Pet Academy responded with her donation of the puppy within an hour.

MJ's Pet Training Academy also donated the necessary training for the dog that would occur periodically over the next two years. Training is expected to start next week.

The plan is to have the puppy attend school with Cathcart beginning this fall.

"It's going to be another way for us to engage with the students and the dog will be able to help them ease anxiety. We're looking forward to bringing her to other community events so that the residents of Acushnet know her."

If SouthCoast Dogs Had a Dating App, It Would Look Something Like This

August 26 is International Dog Day, and it got me thinking. What if there was a way for dogs to connect with other dogs in the area to make new friends? Or maybe even find love? Twenty-six dogs living on the SouthCoast sent me their profile picture and bio. Let's see the eligible pups.

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