The Pitt County Sheriff's Department in Greenville, North Carolina welcomed two new deputies today with a very special ceremony. Deputy Gunner and deputy Sammy are trained therapy mini horses sworn in as part of the brand new Building Bridges Program - a collaboration between the Pitt County Sheriff's Office, East Carolina University, and local therapeutic riding facility, Rocking Horse Ranch.
The minis will serve their community by comforting witnesses and victims of crimes in the region. Individuals will leave the city for the relaxing, bucolic comfort of Rocking Horse Ranch. There they will brush the horses' manes and walk them through the fields.
Gunner and Sammy are already trained therapy minis, having visited area nursing homes with RHR.
The idea for the new collaboration with the Sheriff's Department is to "build bridges of communication" between victims of traumatic crime and the police. Although the program is just beginning, Sheriff Neil Elks has already witnessed its potential:
“The reaction I saw on people’s face, I said, ‘Man, this is real. This is going to work,'” he told WNCT News.
For their part in the program, East Carolina University will study the impact the minis have on the witnesses and victims.
The Swearing in Ceremony for Gunner and Sammy took place at the Pitt County Courthouse at 1:00 this afternoon with the two minis sporting adorable deputy uniforms for the occasion!
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H/T and Featured Image via WNCT News