DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH) – The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office has a new “mane” staff member.
Poppy is a 1-year-old miniature therapy horse.
Poppy and her handler, corrections officer Privett, have finished their training over the last six months, making visits to schools, courtrooms, the jail, and other spots in the community as part of that training.
“You look into Poppy’s eyes and see acceptance without judgment, love without fear and pain. You pet her and you feel the warmth and peace,” Privett said in the post. “The unconditional love of a therapy animal is felt by all. They immediately change the mood of a tense or painful situation and magically provide a subtle sense of calm.”
In a social media post announcing Poppy’s “hiring,” the sheriff’s office said the therapy horse represents the rural, agricultural nature of the community. In addition, the office’s Mounted Deputy Unit has served, in addition to more traditional tasks like crowd control and rescues, as a ceremonial and community relations unit.
“As law enforcement continues to integrate more efforts in support of mental health, the therapy horse in Delaware County only makes sense,” the sheriff’s office posted.
Poppy and Privett, a 10-year corrections officer veteran, are being trained by Seven Oaks Farms, which is the only program in the country offering a comprehensive registration program designed for miniature horses, including certification for both the horse and their handler. Stockhands Horses for Healing, a non-profit organization, has also aided in Poppy and Privett’s training.
Training is expected to wrap up in the next few weeks, at which point, Poppy will begin taking requests for special appearances and visits.