A Civic Media radio station

Civic Media Logo
Wood County Therapy Dog Lola Visits WFHR Station

Wood County Therapy Dog Lola Visits WFHR Station

Sheriff Shawn Becker and Lieutenant Susanne Wagner talk with James Malouf on Mid-Day Magazine along with new therapy dog Lola.

February 9, 2024 at 03:59 PM UTC

By: Melissa Kaye

Wisconsin Rapids, Wis (WFHR, WIRI)

Inmates at the Wood County Jail will soon have a new therapy dog to help brighten their days. Lt. Wagner brought the puppy, Lola, to the WFHR studio to talk about her new position. She said they’ll both be attending obedience training for Lola to become licensed as a therapy dog.

Obedience training

Lola’s journey to join the Sheriff’s Department

Sheriff Shawn Becker said the Marshfield Police Department contacted him after the puppy was offered to them by a breeder in Marathon County. Marshfield Police Chief Jody Geurink contacted Sheriff Becker as their department already has a therapy dog. Sheriff Becker said he brought the idea to the Sheriff’s Department to see if it would be a good fit for the county. By chance, he was talking with Lt. Wagner and she said having a therapy dog is something she’s been wanting to incorporate into their programming for the last 5-10 years. Sheriff Becker said they’re very lucky. They received a grant for their K9 Unit from the Legacy Foundation and this perfectly fits their initiative expanding their mental health initiatives.

Lola’s story

What is a therapy animal?

Lt. Wagner explains that a therapy animal provides emotional support for people who are in distress. They also can help in a crisis situation. Lola will give the inmates something positive to focus on. She’ll remind them of their own pets at home and give encouragement during their rehabilitation. Lt. Wagner said therapy animals love getting pets and attention.

The new therapy dog will be a positive influence

Lola is the right dog for the position of therapy dog

Lola is an 11-week-old black Labrador. She’s still very much in puppy stage, so she loves chewing on things and sleeping. Lt. Wagner said they didn’t pick out Lola, the breeder chose her for her relaxed and loving nature. She said therapy dogs have been proven to lower blood pressure and improve morale. Everyone loves to see Lola when she comes into a room. Lt. Wagner said Lola helps inmates destress before difficult events like attending court.

Details on Lola

Therapy dogs and a focus on mental health can help society

James talked with Sheriff Becker about how to address the revolving door of repeat offenders. Many different strategies have been tried over the years and failed. Now, departments are focusing more on why people are committing crimes and realizing that mental health is a large part of that. Sheriff Becker said they’ve focused initiatives the past few years on educating their law enforcement, deputies, and corrections officers on mental health and addiction issues. The sheriff said before he retires, mental health initiatives will be expanded on. Sheriff Becker is proud of the department and the steps they’ve taken and continue to take to work on addiction and mental health issues in the community and with those in custody. He’s very happy that Susanna was willing to bring in Lola and train her to help in the community and the jail.

Mental health and addiction

You can find the full interview with Lt. Susanna Wagner, Sheriff Shawn Becker and Lola on our website under the show Mid-Day Magazine on February 7th.
https://civicmedia.us/shows/morning-magazine
The interview with video can be found on the Wisconsin Rapids Community Media YouTube channel or at this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3okVyZd4EXM

More Articles

  • We All Rise: How a new resource center is helping raise up residents in the community

    2/27/2024 | Teri Barr

    Open a short time, the We All Rise African American Resource Center has already supported more than 2,000 people in Northeast Wisconsin Talking about problems in the community is the first step for the Green Bay based We all Rise African American Resource Center. But talk is leading to leading to help. “We are finding […]

  • Chippewa County GOP Accused of Campaign Finance Violations

    2/27/2024 | James Kelly

    The Chippewa County Republican party has been accused of violating campaign finance laws by the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. According to the allegations, the Chippewa County, Langlade, and Florence County Republican parties were involved in a scheme to circumvent campaign finance laws to benefit Adam Steen’s bid to unseat Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in 2022. Under […]

  • University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Answers Discrimination Lawsuit

    2/27/2024 | James Kelly

    The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has filed an answer to a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination against a former employee. The lawsuit alleges that former Interim Director of Multicultural Student Services Rochelle Hoffman was forced to resign from her position due to months of hostility and questioning from staff. Hoffman alleges in the complaint that faculty […]

  • Dr. Joe Gothard named Madison’s new superintendent

    2/27/2024 | Nate Wegehaupt

    Dr. Joe Gothard will officially return to the Madison Metropolitan School District on July 1, 2024.

  • Community addresses Green Bay School Board in open forum

    2/27/2024 | Lisa M. Hale

    Several dozen concerned citizens attended the Green Bay School Board open forum Monday night to beg for the reinstatement of Claude Tiller, Jr. as superintendent. Each person was given 5 minutes to address the board during the forum which lasted almost 3 hours. 

image