COMMUNITY RESOURCE DOG BRINGS JOY TO MASCO
The Topsfield Police Department’s new community resource dog, Aster, has brought smiles to many at Masco this year.
Many have come to find comfort in Aster’s joyful energy throughout the Masco hallways, but this would not be possible without Topsfield police officer Brendan Gahagan, and his push for a community resource dog for the Tri-Town.
Gahagan, Aster’s handler, has been pushing for a Tri-Town community resource dog for many years, and with many generous donations of private funding, Gahagan made it happen.
“Aster was a big push on my part, I actually tried to make my personal dogs the Topsfield police dogs,” said Gahagan.
Gahagan adopted Aster on August 4th and she was immediately enrolled in training to become a bomb and gun sniffing dog to ensure school and public safety in the Tri-Town. Although Aster is not a certified therapy dog, she serves an important role as an emotional support animal for struggling students.
“She's been great for the Learning Resource Center (LRC) kids in the middle school and high school. There's been a few times that kids haven't been able to come to school from anxiety and she was able to help them get into school,” said Gahagan. “Her doing that even once means that she’s done her job for the whole year.”
One of Aster’s favorite places at Masco is the Learning Resource and Student Support Centers which are available for students who need support of all different kinds, ranging from emotional to academic.
LRC teacher Courtney Crispo noticed Aster’s positive impact on her students, as well as the school as a whole.
“She's been great. [She’s] been a really positive influence for my students, especially those who don't have pets but love hanging out with animals. Aster has been a really great influence on the whole school too,” said Crispo.
Although Aster mainly hangs out at the LRC and Student Support Centers, she is also very popular amid the hallways at Masco. She can also be spotted at various school events ensuring safety, or just looking for attention, tennis balls, sticks, or even running around on the track.
“Aster makes me feel relaxed when I see her at school, she is always so happy and it really lifts my spirits. She helps me calm down when my stress is at its peak,” said sophomore Aniqa Zahra.
When Aster isn’t at Masco brightening spirits, she also works with the Topsfield Police Station as a bomb sniffing dog for various local events across the Greater Boston area. She works at events such as the Topsfield Fair and Topsfield’s Trunk or Treat.
Aster has left a positive impact on the Masco community by brightening spirits and making new friends everywhere at Masco.