EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Meet Pearl.
She’s the first support canine for the Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector, and is being introduced as part of a newly launched program to improve the mental health of the agency’s workforce nationwide.
Born on March 29, 2017, Pearl is a 6-year-old yellow Labrador that, according to Border Patrol officials, was welcomed with hugs and smiles from Laredo Sector employees. She started as a guide dog, trained in obedience, and continues her training as a support canine.
Border Patrol Chaplains and Peer Support Members will serve as the new Support Canine handlers, providing emotional care while maintaining confidentiality. These specially assigned canines will help improve the emotional readiness that her handlers hope will start important conversations that can lead to quicker recovery and healing in a stressful environment.
“Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents and civilian employees are ecstatic to have canine Pearl and appreciate the U.S. 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 during any critical situation.”