Meet Honey, IUPD’s first-ever therapy dog

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (IUSTV News) – The IU Police Department’s newest recruit is lending a helping hand—or paw to the force.

Honey is a two-year-old plot hound and joined the department this fall.

Her handler, and IU Police and Public Safety Public Information Officer Hannah Skibba says she evaluated the trends and other Big Ten schools that have therapy dogs.

Skibba said after a proposal to add Honey as a partner on the team, it was hard for them to say no.

“Every police dog has their role in our police department and her job is to give everybody some love and bring a little light to your day,” Skibba said.

Honey traveled a long way to get to Bloomington. She was rescued and trained through the Paws and Stripes College, based out of the Brevard County, Florida Sheriff’s Department.

“They rescue all of their dogs from shelters and then use inmates at their facility to help train them,” Skibba said.

But that doesn’t mean Skibba was off the leash.

“Once I got to her, we did a 40 hour course on therapy dogs and certification together and I got to bring her back home,” Skibba said.

Unlike the other IUPD K9s, Honey is a therapy K9, which Skibba says can help bridge the gap between a traumatic event and mental health support.

“Having her on the scene can really help reduce stress and anxiety when tensions are high. So once we get those anxiety levels down, we’re able to communicate with folks and really help solve whatever issue we have,” Skibba said.

Like any K9 with a nine-to-five, Honey isn’t worked to the dog-bone.

“ I take care of her 24/7,” Skibba said. “So at the end of a long day, she comes home with me, the harness comes off, and she’s just able to be the loving, crazy dog that she is.”

“I’m able to build connections with folks that maybe I wouldn’t have had conversations with before,” Skibba said. “So our students are absolutely loving her and we’re building really awesome connections along the way.”

Honey is famous too. You can follow her Instagram page to see Honey in action.