Last November, Kingston police held Vern’s Holiday Market for the first time.
Vern is a Yellow Labrador and a facility dog that was donated to the police force by National Service Dogs.
Sgt. Melanie Jefferies is Vern’s handler, and says he’s been an invaluable addition to the police service.
“We’ve used him a lot within our community for victims and witnesses of any kind of traumatic event,” Jefferies explained.
“He provides support for them.”
National Service Dogs funds their work through donations and sponsorships, which is why Jefferies says the police force helped out by raising money.
$5,000 was raised at last year’s holiday market, which is enough to fund the early training of three puppies.
Meredith Dash is providing that training to Juno, another Yellow Lab, and one of the puppies sponsored by the Kingston police efforts.
Dash and Juno toured the police station and gave everyone a chance to see the benefit of their efforts first hand.
Dash will work with 11-week-old Juno for the next 14 to 16 months.
Juno will then move on to advanced training for a career as a service dog.
Dash says it’s at the advanced training stage when Juno’s career will be decided.
“She would probably be for children with autism, or veterans or first responders with PTSD or she could be a facility dog,” she said.
Fully training a service dog can cost upwards of $15,000.
Jefferies says a second holiday market has already been planned for November 30.
It will be held at the police station with over 55 vendors, and runs from 10 am to 3 pm.
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