The Nugget Newspaper - News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

K-9s join Black Butte Ranch PD

 

Last updated 11/29/2022 at Noon

JESSICA RICH

Yukon is a young Newfoundland who is learning his job.

A pair of police K-9s have joined Black Butte Ranch’s Police Department — but perhaps not the kind that usually come to mind. Eight-year-old Brandy, a golden retriever, and Yukon, a 19-month-old Newfoundland, are not deployed to track escapees, disarm burglars, or sniff out contraband. Instead, Officer Joe Schneider, the dogs’ owner along with his wife, is accompanied on his daily rounds by the canines.

They serve two purposes, Schneider tells The Nugget. First, they are classic comfort or therapy dogs who are available for residents and guests at the Ranch in need of a little companionship or a furry listener. For anybody shut in, maybe immobilized or recovering from medical treatment, or not having nearby family, Brandy or Yukon can make all the difference in the world, brightening spirits.

Second, they are goodwill ambassadors of the Ranch in the wider Sisters Country community.

“The department and management is very supportive and encouraging of us to mingle in the community,” Schneider said.

Schneider, with one or the other, but not both at once, makes regular visits to The Lodge in Sisters, schools, and public events where the dogs’ presence is at once calming and reassuring to all with whom they come in contact.

On the day we caught up with Schneider, he was at the Sisters Elementary School crosswalk at Locust. The safely crossed students were greeted by Brandy, and the lovefest ensued. Kids hugged the dog, asked questions, and chatted up the officer.

“This also helps the kids learn to trust the police and see them in other than an enforcement environment,” Schneider explained.

Brandy, as a golden, is typical of therapy or comfort dogs seen in a wide variety of settings from hospitals to jails to assisted living centers. Yukon, on the other hand, a “goofy Newfy,” as Newfoundlands are affectionately called, is anything but typical. With his size — males typically are 140 to 180 pounds at maturity — and the breed’s propensity for drooling, one doesn’t imagine them in a usual therapy setting.

BILL BARTLETT

Officer Joe Schneider brought Brandy to Sisters Elementary School to meet delighted students.

Yukon is just plain irresistible, though. He’s still in training, and, like most teenagers, would rather play than work.

Schneider deftly wipes away the occasional drool as humans approach, and makes the dog sit in an orderly fashion to meet and greet. Yukon dutifully obeys, but it’s obvious he just wants to love all over his admirers.

During the winter months when few tourists are encamped at the Ranch, Schneider is free to expand his reach into Sisters and Camp Sherman. If you see them on the street, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself, and if you have a situation where one of these dogs could make a difference in somebody’s life in Sisters Country, call the Ranch’s nonemergency number, 541-595-2191. There’s a good chance Officer Schneider can find time to respond.

 

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