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Meet Winnie, NECC’s Soon-to-Be Comfort Dog

Submitted by on April 16, 2024 – 8:20 pm
yellow lab puppy sits on green grass looking at camera

Winnie is the newest member of the NECC Police Dept.

Haverhill and Lawrence, MA (April 16, 2024)—The Northern Essex Community College Police Department has a new rookie on the squad: Paw-ficer Winnie! The 9-week-old yellow Labrador Retriever will eventually serve as NECC’s comfort dog. She will provide stress relief, calm nerves, and bring cheer to students, faculty, and staff.

Since her first official day of work, Winnie has already shown the positive impact a comfort dog can have on the community. Her handler, Lt. Keith Walker, says students routinely stop by to say hello to her, which has sparked some new connections.

“Students who would just walk by and say a quick hello before are now in my office. One even shared that he wanted to be a police officer. So, she’s only been here a few days but already conversations are happening that wouldn’t have otherwise,” says Walker.

Winnie also brought together more than 370 members of the NECC community who voted on her name. Winnie earned 117 votes, edging out Millie, Essie, and Rosie.

While Walker’s office is in the Sports and Fitness Center on the Haverhill Campus, he says Winnie will eventually split her time between both campuses.

Winnie will be leaving NECC periodically for training. First, she will undergo two weeks of basic obedience training starting the week of April 22. Anyone who wants to meet Winnie before then is encouraged to stop by Spring Jam on the Haverhill Campus on Wednesday, April 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Winnie also has her own Instagram page: @NECCwinnie.

Information about Winnie, her schedule (once she’s fully entered service), and more will be available on her webpage.