Service dog joins police department


New Market, Va. (WHSV) – The newest member of the New Market Police Department is a 2-year-old yellow lab named Benelli.

New Market Police Chief Chris Rinker met Benelli after applying to a nonprofit called Muts with a Mission. The organization trains service dogs for veterans, first responders and law enforcement.

Chief Rinker had to go to the Virginia Beach area to train with Benelli for two weeks before the pup was ready to put on the vest and get to work.

“Benelli serves several different functions, one is to provide comfort to victims of crime, then also first responders to include my staff at the New Market police department, but other first responders in the region. He can show them compassion, give them love and better their day,” Rinker said.

Benelli has only been with the police department for a couple of weeks, but he’s already been on several calls for service and knows 50 commands.

“He can open doors, he can pick up water bottles, keys, remotes, he can push the cross walk light, buttons at the intersection. He’s a really smart guy,” Rinker said.

Chief Rinker added that he’s enjoyed working with Benelli and is looking forward to seeing how he can help others in the community and surrounding areas.

“When he goes into a room, or sees people, it puts a smile on their face. He loves to get his belly rubbed,” Rinker said. “That just gives people a chance to forget what’s on their mind and to enjoy Benelli. That truly is his job.”

You can follow Benelli on his journey as a facility/service dog in the Valley and see all the ways he is putting a smile on people’s faces by following him on Instagram.

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