EL PASO, TX (border report) – Meet Pearl.
She is the first support dog for the Laredo Sector of the Border Patrol and is being introduced as part of a recently launched program to improve the mental health of the agency’s staff across the country.
Pearl, born March 29, 2017, is a 6-year-old yellow Labrador who, according to border officials, was greeted with hugs and smiles by the Laredo sector. She started out as a guide dog, trained in obedience and continues to train as a service dog.
Border Patrol chaplains and peer support staff will become the new support dog handlers, providing emotional assistance while maintaining privacy. These specially designated dogs will help improve emotional readiness, which her handlers hope will help start important conversations that can lead to faster recovery and healing in a stressful environment.
“Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents and civilian employees are thrilled to have the canine pearl and are grateful to the US Border Patrol for launching this program,” Laredo Sector officials said in a statement. “Canine Pearl will be visiting other law enforcement agencies, the community at various outreach events and will be available in any critical situation.”