Tress has come to protect the Miami Township Police Department Station House (Provided)
You see, Tress is not a highly trained drug-sniffing K-9 police dog hitting the streets of Miami Township to stop criminal activity. No, Tress is more like the image of the black-spotted Dalmatian you might expect to find at a fire house. She’s not even a Dalmatian, or for that matter, not even a pure-bred. Chief Mills calls her a mutt. She is the Miami Township Police Department ‘Station House Dog’.
“We got her back in the middle of February,” said Mills.
He and his wife were trying to crate-train Tress at home. They didn’t want to leave her locked up too long. She was so young they figured just a couple hours would be a good start getting her trained.
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“I started bringing her to work,” Mills said. “Everybody loved her here.”
Tress quickly became very comfortable around the station house. She doesn’t let Chief Mills get too far away and she protects the halls and offices in the station house. It wasn’t long before Mills caught her on camera and shared a couple photos of her with the public.
“I just put her on Facebook just for the fun of it on our police Facebook page,” said Mills, “just introducing Tress the Miami Township Station Dog. She got like 4,000 “likes”. Then, the cat was out of the bag. The Dog was out of the bag.”
Once Tress had made her social media debut, everybody working in the Miami Township Civic Center knew Chief Mills had a dog in the station house. He received an email from the Finance Director asking if Tress could come to the department head meeting. Mills replied back and CC’d Township Administrator Jeff Wright saying he would bring her as long as Administrator Wright approved it.
“He said bring her along,” Mills said. “From that day forward, she’s been the Miami Township Dog because she moved from lap to lap to lap around that meeting. “
Tress is comfortable on the couch in the office of Miami Township Police Chief Mike Mills (Chuck Gibson)
Mills says the Miami Township department heads all love her and have great Tress stories to tell. It started with the email inviting Mills to bring Tress to the meeting. She’s been to every department head meeting. She’s been to Chamber of Commerce meetings with Mills. He’s had her at meetings with other Police Chief’s. She has not been to a Trustees meeting yet, but Trustees have come by, sat on the couch and petted her.
“She’s become part of Miami Township,” said Mills. “Everybody expects to meet her now. She is a comfort animal of sorts. Everyone gets down and pets her.”
During COVID-19,Tress started spending more time at the Station House (From MTPD Facebook Post)
Mills says he did have her pop-in during virtual online Trustees meetings when everybody was at home. When Township Administrator Jeff Wright gave the go- ahead for her to come to department head meetings, he couldn’t have known the impression she’d make on the community.
“Tress has been a new and unique way for us to engage residents and demonstrate the softer side of law enforcement,” said Wright. “Community engagement is one of the hallmarks of the Miami Township Police Department and Tress is a great way for us to make that introduction to more residents.”
Tress helps show the community a “softer side” of policing (From MTPD Facebook post)
When COVID-19 hit, Mills started bringing Tress around more and more. He and his wife weren’t crate training her at the time. She began staying later and later. Everybody liked her. Mills’ wife came by to pick her up giving him a chance to go work out at the gym. Then the gyms closed and Mills just kept her all day.
“She’s been coming pretty much all day since the middle of March,” Mills said. “She goes home at night. She goes and sees her brother Brutus. Make sure Brutus gets in there.”
Tress at the ready to meet the community in Miami Township (From MTPD Facebook post)
Mostly though, Tress has made the Miami Township Police Department Station House her home. When Chief Mills is away, she stays with somebody in the station house. If she starts to whimper, they just let her back into his office where she lays down on her bed until he returns. Yes, she does have a bed on the floor in Chief Mills’ office, but don’t be fooled. Tress is comfortable on any one of the chairs or couch in the area too.
“She’s got a tail that’s a little like a Peacock,” said Mills. “It flares out.”
Tress the Station House Dog . . . on patrol (From MTPD Facebook post)
It is her second home. In the morning, at the Mills house, he just says come on let’s go to work and she follows him out the door. Once at the station house, she won’t wander far. Tress knows her territory and won’t leave it. Mills has tried to get her to follow him on a walk over to the fire house next door, but ends up carrying her. The firemen all know her though. Even the night-shift officers who don’t see her as much know Tress. Trustee Mary Wolff has posted comments about her being a comfort dog for the community. But at the end of the work day, this unique station house dog goes home too.
“I get my bag and say let’s go home,” Mills said. “She starts jumping up and down. I mean, she jumps. She’s a jumper. All four feet are waist high. I think she’s got springs in her legs.”
Miami Township Police Staton House: 2nd home to Tress the Station House Dog (Chuck Gibson)
Mills says it must be the “Jack Russell” in her. They had her DNA done and learned she’s half Boxer and Jack Russell. Those are her two main breed traits. Throw in some Golden Retriever, a little bit of hound and you have Tress the Station House Dog. Guessing her breed created a great online contest. Multiple people guessed correctly and then Tress picked out the top three prize winners – with just one mouthful from the pool of winning guesses. They each got gift cards.
“Everybody loves her,” said Mills. “She’s come to protect this place. She barks at people walking down the sidewalk out the window like it’s her house.”