Administrative Assistant Angela Langley (left) and Crime Scene Tech Rachel Baldree with the Marble Falls Police Department’s newest officer, Brody, in front of police headquarters on Avenue N. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman
The latest member of the Marble Falls Police Department to be pinned with his first badge is a 107-pound German shepherd/mastiff/Great Dane mix named Brody. He joined the department last October and received his badge in April.
“We talked about having a facility animal for years and years,” said MFPD Administrative Assistant Angela Langley. “We went to a chief’s conference with Chief (Glenn) Hanson, and they had a lot of classes on therapy dogs. On our first day back to work, Brody had been surrendered. The first thing he did was walk into the chief’s office and lay his head down on the chief’s lap. The chief said, ‘I’m sold.’”
Crime Scene Tech Rachell Baldree went with an animal control officer to pick Brody up from an elderly woman who couldn’t handle him anymore.
“The moment she opened the door to let Brody out, I fell in love,” Baldree said. “There’s something about him. He’s so handsome.”
Langley did the research to make the therapy dog program a reality. Baldree is Brody’s handler.
While Brody is a great communicator, he couldn’t answer this reporter’s questions, so his two biggest champions explained the job of a therapy dog.
Therapy dog for the city of Marble Falls
LANGLEY: His job is to make friends, relieve stress, and reduce anxiety. He also visits the Marble Falls Fire Department and EMS next door a few times a week and goes on outings to Lowe’s and Home Depot to represent his work family in the community. He’s not a service animal. A service animal does a particular act for a particular human. Brody’s job is to comfort.
We had to train him with online classes because he gets car sick if we drive him too far. We did live video chats and sent videos of him working through the course. He blew right through it. The training facilitators are using him as some of their production stories because he did so well.
His main job description to us is emotional support for the police department. We have a dispatch center here and communications officers and street officers who work around the clock. They save lives, they work all the crashes. Dispatchers do CPR over the phone. It’s just stressful. Dispatchers have curled up on the floor with him after a stressful call. He puts his arm over them and just lies there with them. He knows when someone needs him. He stays in the police department 24/7.
BALDREE: We take him to the courts, the district and county courts. Eventually, we hope the courts can use him for traumatized people who have to testify. Brody was at one of the schools recently when there was a situation in the hallway, and he calmed that person down.
He will be 4 years old next week. He’s only been here six months. Before that, he lived with one person. It’s been a transition for him now that he has 40-something owners, going from the one. He’s a gentle giant. He’s learning to come out of his shell.
The best thing about working with Brody is seeing how excited people get when they meet him. Seeing people’s smiles is really amazing. We try to be a welcoming party for everyone in the morning. He runs up to the cars and greets everyone. It’s a great way to start the day.
His strongest attribute is his temperament. He gets a little shy at times, but he’s always well-behaved. It’s rare to find a dog so easygoing. We talked to different agencies, and they were pretty impressed we had a dog who already had the mannerisms needed to be a therapy dog. Brody has them. He doesn’t run off. He always keeps me in his sight.
His work harness says it all: free hugs and pet me.