Meet Rikki Bobby on WGBY Thursday 2/13!

They say dog is man’s best friend but if it were possible to have someone closer than a best friend, something tells me that’s how a correctional officer and his K9 partner would view each other.

A couple months ago, I visited the Connecticut Department of Correction’s K9 Unit in Enfield and met an extraordinary team of “officers”…and their human owners. (Any pet person would say their furry friends are really the ones in charge!)

These dogs are fearless and yet inspiring at the same time. They have no qualms about standing up, in between or for their human counterpart -the corrections officer.

Yes, everyone is familiar with the CO- whether through movies, a TV series or you may even know one in real life…but what you see on TV or from far isn’t always realistic. It might be surprising to learn that 31% of CO’s have PTSD- even higher than Iraq war veterans!

Maybe it’s that “out of sight, out of mind” theory– because we don’t see the CO as often as we would see a soldier or even police officer or firefighter, we forget the risks and stress they go through on a continual basis. While they are inside the prison walls dealing with what most of us on the outside would never want or could comprehend in our lives, they also must fight to keep their physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual well-being …and at the same time, maintain the peace as much possible in a world where calm can turn to chaos at a moment’s notice.

The health risks are astounding. The high rates of divorce, alcoholism and stress often go unnoticed. But not much is out there to understand and fix the problem.

So you can imagine the bond between a K9 dog and a correctional officer who are in this “fight” together. Peering from the outside in on my field shoot, I felt the bond but I’m sure no words or TV segment could explain the connection between these two.

Watch Connecting Point on 2/13 Thursday night at 7:30 to hear correctional officers express their love and concern… not for themselves or their own safety, but for their canine partners- and maybe it’ll bring a different perspective to the phrase, “A man’s best friend is his dog.”

p.s. I left the best part out- hear how Vested Interest was able to step forward and go one “paw” further in protecting these dogs who, in turn, protect their best friend- the corrections officer.