Officer Swendsen and Baxter first Graduates from MDOC's new Therapy Dog Program

Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC) is proud to announce that on April 27, 2024, Maine Correctional Center (MCC) Correctional Officer Becky Swendsen and Baxter were the first to graduate from our new Mission Working Dogs Therapy Dog program.

Baxter, a trained dog from MCC and Maine State Prison, was paired with Officer Swendsen in March 2024. They passed three testing events, including one on the MCC grounds, one at a nursing home, and one at Lowes.

Officer Swendsen and Baxter are now a certified Therapy Dog Team, available to offer support to MDOC staff and provide a therapeutic and wellness resource to those working in this challenging career field. The program aims to grow MDOC’s peer support and wellness resources, with plans to add more therapy dogs to support Community Corrections Officers in the future.

“I would like to thank the resident K-9 training teams and all involved employees in the facilities and in the community for making this valuable addition to our team possible,” said Commissioner Randall A. Liberty. “Our amazing collaboration with Christy Gardner and Mission Working Dogs continues to create Service Dogs for Military Veterans in our community and provide purpose for our residents and therapy dogs for our officers.”

MDOC congratulates Officer Swendsen and Baxter on their achievement and is excited to see the positive impact their work will have on improving our mental health and wellness efforts for staff.

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