A police department’s therapy dog sparked a hilarious internal investigation after officers noticed donated toys for the holidays seemed to be disappearing from the room they had carefully placed them in.
The other night, an officer working the night shift noticed Ben Franklin — a friendly golden retriever who has free rein of the building — seemed to be on a mission. He was walking back-and-forth between his office (he has a bed under an officer’s desk) and a classroom housing a bunch of donated toys slated to be Christmas gifts.
The officer pulled out his phone and started recording as the dog walked out of the room with a baby doll in a basket.
“As Ben realizes he’s being tailed, he picks up the pace a little bit,” Sgt. Brian Johnson, the public information officer for Franklin Police Department in Massachusetts laughed in an interview with TODAY on Friday.
The video of the caper — recorded by the officer who busted Ben — immediately went viral.
“I don’t know what goes through the mind of a dog that comes into a room and is overwhelmed with toys and everything else,” Johnson said. He explained Ben had taken several toys and hidden them in his “lair,” — including a stuffed llama, a penguin, and the baby doll in the video.
“I’m not sure what his rhyme or reason was, maybe they were just easy and close to the door?” Johnson chuckled.
He explained Ben is usually a very good boy, whose main job is to diffuse situations and comfort people. The dog primarily makes visits to schools to hang out with kids who are in crisis.
“The school resource officer will bring Ben down and as soon as the child sees the dog and we say ‘If you calm down you can pet the dog,’ you can get them to calm down,” Johnson explained. “It’s amazing the effect the dog has.”
Ben Franklin is still in training though, and has to pass his certification test in the coming months. Johnson laughed when we asked if he’d passed his “no stealing toys from children” class.
“If that’s a class, he hasn’t passed it yet!” he said. “This dog’s job is to be cute.”
Johnson said they already replaced all the toys Ben slobbered on.
“Once he got a hold of a few of them, there was no going back,” he chuckled.