Celebrating One Year of Mason the Comfort Dog

AT&T Blog Team
May 6, 2024
Public Safety

Celebrating One Year of Mason the Comfort Dog

Unlike typical police dogs, comfort dogs work to ease the trauma for individuals impacted by violence, tragedy, or traumatic events. Not only do they provide this crucial service to civilians, but comfort dog programs play a major role in helping the first responders within their own department.


For several years, AT&T has collaborated with nonprofit organizations and local police departments to help bring comfort dog programs to first responders around New England. The efforts have led to some doggone great results, especially in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


On April 11, Portsmouth Police Department, AT&T, the organization Hero Pups and more than 100 attendees gathered at the Portsmouth Senior Activities Center for a “Year in Review” celebration honoring Mason the comfort dog.


Mason, a Labrador retriever, has touched countless lives in the short time he has been with the Portsmouth Police Department. He has a packed schedule, being utilized at numerous community events, schools, senior centers, nonprofit organizations, crime scenes and much more. His calm demeanor and exceptional training has made him a crucial member of the department during crisis situations and also on a daily basis, bringing moments of peace to otherwise tense times.


Mason’s celebration also aimed to educate and inform the community about comfort dogs and their wide array of services, as well as the importance of mental health for first responders. Other comfort dogs from departments in New Hampshire and Massachusetts attended the event as well, helping to honor their four-legged colleague and spread the word about what they do. The event was a family affair, as two of these other dogs were Mason’s brother and sister.


The Portsmouth Police Department Comfort Dog Program was announced in January 2023 and Mason was announced in conjunction with AT&T and Hero Pups in March of that year. Since then, Mason has spent a year training and getting introduced to the department and community alongside his handler, Detective Rochelle Jones.

Mason came from the organization Hero Pups, based in Exeter, NH, which has a long history of working with not only police departments but also with first responders and veterans. Hero Pups works primarily with shelter and rescue dogs and has paired more than 191 dogs with local veterans and first responders. In 2022, AT&T and Hero Pups collaborated to bring a comfort dog to the Maine Bureau of Emergency Communications.


AT&T’s support to Hero Pups comes as part of the company’s longstanding relationship with public safety in New Hampshire and across the country. Through FirstNet®, Built with AT&T, a nationwide communications network built by AT&T dedicated to first responders, the company collaborates closely with the public safety community. In doing so, FirstNet recognized the need for resources focused on first responder health and wellness. FirstNet established the FirstNet Health & Wellness Coalition to support programs and partnerships that bring wellness tools directly to our local public safety heroes. Studies have shown that interacting with animals can have a positive impact on these stressors and more.


Comfort dogs like Mason are truly making a difference by giving our first responders a tool unlike any other. The name Mason honors the “founder of New Hampshire,” Captain John Mason. This impressive pup is quickly living up to his namesake, leading health and wellness efforts across the community.


FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks and service marks of the First Responder Network Authority. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. 

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