CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Conway Police Department has added a new member to its team — and he’s already making a difference in victims’ lives.

Finn is the first emotional support dog in Horry County. He will bring comfort to victims of crime in Conway.

Finn is a 5-month-old bernedoodle, a mixture of a poodle and a Bernese Mountain Dog, is already known to be feisty and popular.  

Nikki Richardson, a Conway Police Department victim advocate and Finn’s handler, said people in the community would ask her if the department had an emotional support dog, and that felt bad when her answer had to be “no.” Richardson said she saw a need in the area and immediately proposed an $8,000 grant that would help buy, feed and train Finn.

“We just felt like he would be a good addition and an ice breaker for the victims during interviews,” Richardson said.

Finn will help with victims who experience things like domestic violence, sexual assault crimes, crimes involving children or the loss of loved ones.

Sgt. Heath Watford with the Conway Police Department said the department sees a lot of death investigations that are natural deaths at home.

“If we have family members that die in the home with children there or have cases where we must have DSS come in and assist if we do not have a guardian,” Watford said. “The dog would be a good option to help calm these children, even adults, if they had to witness a death or something like that, or any kind of traumatic crime. The dog may be able to help with that.”

Finn was sworn in on May 27 and has already won the hearts of victims.

“They go through a traumatic event and then they see Finn laying in the corner,” Richardson said. “I was down in the lobby with him the other day, and they kind of gravitate towards him. I mean look at him, he just magnetizes everybody, so they trust him they know he is safe.”

Finn goes to Astros Kennels in Greenville for training once a month. Once his required 18 months are finished he will constantly be on call.