JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — ETSU Public Safety’s beloved therapy dog Pepper has a new handler.
Following the retirement of Officer Bill Mitchell, Pepper’s previous handler, she will now be riding around campus with Sgt. Dreama Pullon.
Pepper was introduced to the ETSU campus in February 2020 as the Department of Public Safety’s first comfort/therapy dog. The university obtained Pepper through the Paws & Stripes program, which trains abandoned dogs using jail inmates and law enforcement officers before matching them up with agencies.
Pepper came to ETSU from Florida, where she was found on a beach, and she has become quite popular since arriving on campus. She can be a welcome sight for stressed-out students.
“The students love her, and she loves them,” Pullon said in a press release. Pullon and Pepper recently made an appearance in Culp Student Center to reconnect with students following the winter break. “Everyone was giving her a hug and telling her how much they missed her during the break.”
Pullon has been with ETSU Public Safety for nine years. She previously spent 17 years as a patrol sergeant in Washington County, Virginia.
Pepper and Pullon are currently undergoing training in order for Pepper to gain her recertification as a therapy dog.
Pepper will also be celebrating her 5th birthday on February 22, according to Pullon. She said the university is planning to throw Sgt.