WICHITA, Kan. - Captain Kevin Kochenderfer of the Wichita Police Department in Kansas had no idea he was going to make a new best friend when he walked into the police station last September.
A woman had notified the receptionist that she heard noises coming from a dumpster outside the building. Officers checked it out and found a 3-month old rat terrier-chihuahua mix in a crate covered in dust from nearby construction.
"She was really small and dusty and covered in a bunch of cobwebs and debris and stuff," Kochenderfer told FOX Television Stations Monday.
The captain said his wife came and took the puppy to a local veterinarian to see if she had a microchip or any other identifying features, which she did not. Kochenderfer said he took the dog home to his children and she became a family member over time, officially adopting her in October 2020.
"I was an easy sell and the staff knew it that I was an easy sell," he continued.
Kochenderfer said his son named their new pet Nora but had no idea how he came up with the name.
Now, Nora is officially a part of the Wichita Police Department serving as a therapy dog for residents who come into the police department for various reasons, including parents with children.
"The kids get pretty restless and so having Nora here at the station is a good distraction for those kids and it helps the parents focus on what they’re there for," Kochenderfer added.
Kochenderfer said Nora also comforts child victims while authorities investigate their case.
"This is a way to relax them, I found," he said.
Officers haven’t been able to find Nora’s owner or a reason as to why she was abandoned. However, Kochenderfer urges animal owners to reach out to their local humane society if they no longer want to have a pet.
"Outcasting them or just letting them run free is really not the answer," he said.
The captain hopes the story will make police officers more approachable, especially with children.
"And if they get a positive image at a young age, then they’re not going to be afraid of police from all the stories they hear and stuff," he added.
Kochenderfer said his family also has two other rescue dogs.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.