Trending Topics

Correctional officer, therapy dog become first pair to graduate from Maine DOC’s new program

Correctional Officer Becky Swendsen and Baxter are now a therapy dog team, available to offer support to MDOC staff

Maine therapy dog program

Maine DOC

By Sarah Roebuck

WINDHAM, Maine — A correctional officer and therapy dog will be providing support to Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC) staff after graduating from a new program.

Correctional Officer Becky Swendsen and Baxter were the first team to graduate from the Mission Working Dogs Therapy Dog program in April, according to an MDOC news release. The program certifies them as a therapy dog team, available to offer support to MDOC staff.

Baxter, a trained dog from Maine Correctional Center and Maine State Prison, was paired with Swendsen in March 2024. Together, they successfully passed three testing events: one at the MCC grounds, one at a nursing home and one at Lowes.

MDOC said the therapy dog program aims to grow MDOC’s peer support and wellness resources. MDOC plans to add more therapy dogs to support correctional officers in the future.

“I would like to thank the resident K-9 training teams and all involved employees in the facilities and in the community for making this valuable addition to our team possible,” said Commissioner Randall A. Liberty. “Our amazing collaboration with Christy Gardner and Mission Working Dogs continues to create service dogs for military veterans in our community and provide purpose for our residents and therapy dogs for our officers.”

Ready to ramp up your pup’s adventure gear? Dive into our top 12 Amazon picks for essential tactical gear for your pet dog. From rugged harnesses to durable boots, ensure your pup is ready for any outdoor escapade!