Washington D.C. Capitol Police have a new member of the police squad— a 3-year-old Black Labrador Retriever named Lila.
According to CNN, Lila began her role as peer support dog in June as part of a grander effort to provide officers with resources and support systems they may need due to the January 6 Capitol Hill riot and to help them deal with stress and unpredictability on the job.
And officers say she’s already making a significant impact.
“To have Lila here now and have our own dog. It really is just a godsend,” said Jeffrey Albanese, a member of the USCP First Responders Unit and peer support program, told CNN.
Lila was originally trained to be a seeing-eye dog, but with her love for squirrels and being amongst groups with others, she found her new purpose as a wellness support dog.
Tonight two of our USCP officers are talking to the TV networks about the hard work our Department has done buildin… https://t.co/SaetW9Ttzv
— U.S. Capitol Police (@U.S. Capitol Police)
CNN further noted that the police crew brought Lila aboard on deceased officer Brian Sicknick’s birthday to help combat some of the pain from the tragedy.
“She has helped with hard events that we have had. We brought her to roll call for his shift, and it just kind of helps people forget for a little bit,” USCP Officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a brain injury after the riots, told the outlet.
Lila also works alongside a 4-year-old Yellow Labrador Retriever named Leo to place smiles on people’s faces, provide cuddle sessions, allow officers to be transparent, and ask for assistance when they need it some are hesitant to do.
Both pups are part of a grander initiative to grant supplementary support to Capitol Police officers.
The officers hope to share Lila with other departments experiencing troubling times, which is heartwarming.