On a recent December morning, the Gresham Police Department’s newest hire was stubbornly ignoring his boss, Officer Ben Costigan. 

“Lay down. Lay down,” insisted Costigan, who was greeted with a blank stare.

“Or just sit,” he finally relented. 

Officer Ben Costigan with the Gresham Police Department sits in his office with the department's new comfort dog Tagg on Dec. 23, 2019, in Gresham, Oregon.

Officer Ben Costigan with the Gresham Police Department sits in his office with the department’s new comfort dog Tagg on Dec. 23, 2019, in Gresham, Oregon.

Jonathan Levinson/OPB

Costigan was talking to Tagg, a 2-year-old black lab newly sworn in as a comfort dog in December. 

Costigan said Tagg had a busy morning. They went to a children’s learning center where a fire recently forced the kids to evacuate. 

“We wanted to bring some comfort to them, so he spent some time with some kids this morning,” Costigan said, “which I’m sure made him a little tired.”

Tagg’s visit to the learning center is only his second outing since starting his new job. During Tagg’s first week, the duo went to the cancer department at Mt. Hood Medical Center to visit with nurses and patients. 

Officer Ben Costigan with the Gresham Police Department, gives a treat to Tagg, the department's new comfort dog on Dec. 23, 2019, in Gresham, Oregon.

Officer Ben Costigan with the Gresham Police Department, gives a treat to Tagg, the department’s new comfort dog on Dec. 23, 2019, in Gresham, Oregon.

Jonathan Levinson/OPB

“He’s still going through some training,” Costigan said. “But he’s going to be helping us out with victim and witness interviews. 

Guide Dogs for the Blind donated Tagg to the police after he failed to meet the nonprofit’s rigorous standards. A guide dog can only use the bathroom every three to four hours, whereas Tagg needs to go every two to three hours. 

But Costigan said officers have already bonded with Tagg, and that the lab is ready to serve the community.