Brisket Makes Friends and Melts Hearts

Jefferson Elementary student first grade student Nina Ismailyan giggles when Brisket stretched over her legs then lay down.
Photo by Mary O’KEEFE


First graders at Jefferson Elementary School got a special treat on Friday when they were greeted with a visit by Glendale Police Department’s (GPD) Labrador retriever Brisket.



Sit. Shake. Roll over. Those are some of the things that Glendale Police Services Officer Amy Tate had the department’s newest facility dog – Brisket – do in his introduction to students at Jefferson Elementary School on Friday. Tate is Brisket’s handler; actually, she is more like his best friend.

“I take him home. He lives with me and my other dogs,” Tate said.

Brisket is a facility dog that was trained by Canine Companions. According to GPD, Brisket will provide “comfort to victims and witnesses during interviews and court proceedings, help victims process grief and loss, lower tension and stress of community members and staff after traumatic events, work with children to build relationships, conduct senior citizen visits and welfare checks and engage with the community during public events.”

He is not technically a comfort dog, although he does provide comfort to anyone who comes up to pet him. He can perform more than 40 special tricks like opening and closing doors and drawers. Brisket’s training was extensive while he was being raised by his puppy raisers. He – and his training – was sponsored by the Los Angeles Chargers and Lazy Dog Restaurants.

Tate introduced him to Jefferson first graders by sharing all the things that Brisket can do – to the delight of the students.

She had him shake hands, sit and perform the very popular “roll over.” As Brisket rolled onto his back Tate said, “This is how he sleeps, too.”

“Brisket is not supposed to bark unless I tell him he can,” Tate told the students. “Do you want to hear him bark? It’s going to be loud.”

No matter how prepared the kids thought they were they still jumped as Brisket was told to speak, then barked very loudly. Then the kids giggled.

Brisket did exactly what he was meant to do; he brought joy and comfort to the first graders.

At one point Tate chose a student volunteer and asked him/her to sit on the floor.

“Brisket, cover,” she instructed.

Brisket stretched over the student’s legs and lay down. It was this comforting hug that brought a smile to the student’s face.

Brisket recently became part of the GPD family so meeting and greeting people, like on Friday with the Jefferson students, is a way for Tate to introduce him to the community.

“We will be going into senior centers to bring happiness to them,” Tate said.

She also wants to focus on students with special needs and disabilities, which is who Brisket has been trained to help.

“He is so smart,” Tate told the students. “When I do laundry he helps me by taking clothes out of the dryer for me.”

Tate added because Brisket is a facility dog he comes with her to the office where officers often find time to drop by and spend time with him.

Brisket wears a blue vest that identifies him as a Glendale Police Dept. canine companion.

“The minute I take off that vest Brisket is all about playing with the other dogs,” Tate said. “But when I put that vest on he knows it’s time to go to work.”

The idea to get a canine companion for the department began with GPD Lt. Alex Krikorian who researched other agencies that had already adopted this program. He knew Glendale would benefit from a canine companion program and the department supported the idea.

“We’re excited to welcome Brisket to our ranks at the Glendale Police Department,” stated GPD Chief Manny Cid. “Community partnerships are a core component of our mission and values, and we’re grateful to Canine Companions for introducing us to an excellent facility dog to support our personnel and our community in a variety of important ways.”

There was an open application within the department on who would be Brisket’s handler. Tate applied and said it seemed like a perfect fit since, as the community officer, she spends a lot of time at events and meeting people.

“He will be with me everywhere I go,” Tate said.

When she initially went to Canine Companions there were two dogs that were presented for the program; however, Brisket just seemed to be the one. Watching how he looks at Tate it is obvious that there is a bond between them.

Brisket was very popular at the school and not just with the students – the administration became instant fans. Jefferson principal Armineh Alexan said she had never had so many teachers and staff contact her for a turn with Brisket. Everyone wanted him to visit their class and everyone – including Alexan – wanted a selfie with the popular visitor. Tate said she would plan another visit at the school in the future.

After bringing his special form of comfort to the school Brisket looked up at Tate at the end of the visit.

“Oh my gosh,” she said. “He just melts my heart.”

People who would like to learn more about how Brisket can attend their local community event or contact Police Services Officer Amy Tate at