“Ben Franklin” Comes to Franklin PD

J.D. O’Gara
Puppy to Be Trained as Therapy Dog for Department’s Safety Division
Members of the Franklin Police Department’s safety division came to MasterPeace Dog Training in Franklin on February 15th to welcome their newest (and fluffiest) member, “Ben Franklin.” Ben will be trained as a therapy dog for the department. From left, Lt. Mark Manocchio, Off. Paul Guarino, Sgt. Chris Spillane, Officer Jamie Mucciarone (holding Ben), and Officer Dave Gove.
Issue Date: 
March, 2019
Article Body: 

What has four legs, golden brown fur and boundless energy? Franklin Police Department’s newest trainee! Named by children in Franklin’s elementary and middle schools, Three-month-old golden retriever “Ben Franklin,” or “Ben,” for short, officially joined the FPD’s Community Services Division on Friday, February 15th.
Ben will be trained to work as a therapy dog by MasterPeace Dog Training in Franklin, owned by Fran Masters, a dog trainer of 30 years who is generously donating the first year of training. Therapy dogs are used to comfort people who have been involved in a trauma, or stressful event. They can also help de-escalate situations, and bring a calming presence to a scene. In addition to responding to calls for service, Ben will regularly visit the schools, senior center, and community events.
Masters explained that first and foremost, the puppy, purchased by the Department, will need to be socialized and get used to noises, places and all different kinds of people.
“The puppy has to be good at basic commands and not bothered by being handled – to love people and love kids. It starts with a good breeder. We have chosen a very good, stable puppy whose parents are therapy dogs,” says Masters.
Ben comes from a long line of well-bred goldens raised by Mardovar Kennels. He was joined, on his introduction day to the FPD, by his father, 2 ½-year-old Forest, his great aunt Tooshie, and his award-winning and Westminster merit-winner, Flyer, who two years ago was ranked the fifth golden retriever in the country. Many of Ben’s family members have gone on to become therapy dogs through Pet Partners.
Chief Lynch said “There are only a few communities in Massachusetts so far that have embraced therapy dogs as a way to engage, and serve the public. We are proud of the efforts made by the Community Services Division, under the direction of Lieutenant Mark Manocchio, to bring this program online. We see Ben as being a public face of our Agency, and a symbol of our commitment to use all available resources to better serve our residents.”
“If they hadn’t offered to train the dog, I don’t know if it would have been something (the department) could have put much into it,” said Lt. Manocchio.
Ben will reside with Officer Jamie Mucciarone, his wife, Kim and their family. Ben will also be handled by other officers in the Community Services Division, including Officer Dave Gove, who says Ben is just the second police-owned therapy dog in the state, with Walpole being the other department with a therapy dog. In fact, Kim Mucciarone, a nurse, learned about Walpole’s therapy dog and brought the idea to the attention of the Franklin Police Department, then Off. Mucciarone met with members of the Walpole Department to learn more.
Mucciarone says Ben will work with children in schools who might experience anxiety, with the supportive day “Sunshine” club members who have Alzheimer’s, at the public library in the read-to-a-dog program and more.
Officer Paul Guarino says Ben will be a good fit for the safety division, led by Sgt. Chris Spillane, which “wears many hats, including being the primary face of the Department in the schools.”