Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Collier County Sheriff’s Office Facebook Fans Name Puppy Lola

Sheriff Kevin Rambosk shows off newly named puppy Lola with contest winner John Gray at his side at a news conference Wednesday to announce the result of the Collier County Sheriff's Office's Name The Service Dog Contest on Facebook. Photo by Cpl. Efrain Hernandez/CCSO
 After a week of voting and more than 300 nominations, the name that earned the most votes in the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Name The Service Dog Contest is Lola, Sheriff Kevin Rambosk announced Wednesday.

Lola earned 73 “likes” on the CCSO Facebook page, making it the name for a spunky golden retriever puppy in the agency’s service dog program. It was first submitted by John Gray, 24, of Naples. Other top vote-getters included Trinity, Charity, C.C. and Liberty.

Sheriff Rambosk came up with the contest concept as a way of further engaging the community with CCSO.

“We are constantly looking for ways to increase our ties with the community,” Sheriff Rambosk said. “So much of what we do as law enforcement is serious by nature. I saw this as an opportunity to collaborate with the community on a project that’s fun.”

Gray said he was flattered that his entry won.

“I just always liked the name Lola,” he said. “It fits for any type of personality, whether it’s an assertive dog or a sweetheart dog.”

Located in Southwest Florida, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with Naples-based PAWS Assistance Dogs Inc. to train inmates as dog handlers and to have the inmates train the dogs to become assistance and service dogs for wounded veterans and children with disabilities.

The program provides dogs to veterans and children in need, while allowing inmates to give back to the community and gain a sense of responsibility and satisfaction by teaching and taking care of the animals.

Over the course of hundreds of hours, inmates will become skilled in teaching dogs physical tasks such as opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, retrieving items such as a remote control, and assisting in getting dressed.

They’ll also teach the dogs more vital tasks such as acting as a balance when someone falls and needs help standing up, or finding a quick path out of a crowded room when bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder suddenly arise.

The program is a more rigorous extension of CCSO’s Second Chance Cell Dog program, in which inmates care for and train homeless shelter dogs to prepare them for adoption. The cell dog program, which debuted in November 2011, is a partnership with the Humane Society Naples and the Southwest Florida Professional Dog Trainers Alliance.