'Woof,' says the new deputy

WEST CHESTER The Chester County Sheriff's Office has welcomed a new dog or "four-legged deputy" to its K-9 unit, the office announced last week.

Melody, a Labrador-golden retriever mix, will serve as a comfort dog in courtrooms to help ease stress for children and others in difficult situations.

"We have been researching the options of a comfort dog for more than a year and have found a perfect match with Melody - or 'Mel,' as she likes to be called," Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh said in a statement.

Welsh said Melody has a loving and gentle disposition. The dog is living with Welsh until she gets a handler.

Melody trained for two years with the Seeing Eye organization, based in Morristown, N.J. Paul Bryant, a Chester County deputy sheriff and trainer, "recruited" Melody.

The sheriff's office K-9 unit includes German shepherds trained in tracking and the detection of drugs, explosives and human remains.

- Michaelle Bond