Dogs help officers decompress through a new Cook County sheriff’s office initiative

So far, 10 to 15 officers have signed up, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who said the program offers a dual benefit of providing volunteers for PAWS.

SHARE Dogs help officers decompress through a new Cook County sheriff’s office initiative
Anna Wilk, 39, a K-9 officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s office who expressed interest in volunteering for PAWS, plays with Sanoma after a news conference Thursday at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic in Little Village. The sheriff’s office and PAWS announced a partnership that allows officers to attempt to de-stress by volunteering to walk and interact with dogs and cats.

Anna Wilk, a K-9 officer with the Cook County sheriff’s office who expressed interest in volunteering for PAWS, plays with Sanoma after a news conference Thursday at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic in Little Village.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Jerry Roman, a K-9 handler at the Cook County sheriff’s office, stretched out on the floor Thursday to pet Jada, a mixed breed who is up for adoption at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic in Little Village.

Although Roman, 46, already works with a K-9 and has three dogs at home, he’s one of the first officers who signed up to volunteer for PAWS Chicago Medical Center through the Cook County sheriff’s office’s new wellness initiative.

Officers needing to destress can volunteer to walk dogs and interact with cats. So far, 10 to 15 officers have signed up, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who said the program offers a “dual benefit” because it also provides volunteers for PAWS.

The sheriff’s office reported Thursday that volunteers from the sheriff’s office have already logged about 20 hours with the animals.

“I’m certainly not thinking about anything else that’s going on back at the office or anything like that, or anything pending,” Roman said. “Right now, you’re just enjoying. It’s a treat. It’s a break. It’s almost like having dessert the whole time.”

Jerry Roman, 46, a K-9 handler and an officer at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office who signed up to volunteer for PAWS, plays with Jada after a press conference at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic in the Little Village neighborhood, where the Cook County Sheriff’s office and PAWS announced a partnership that allows officers to walk and interact with dogs and cats on a volunteer basis, Thursday, Feb. 16. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Jerry Roman, a K-9 handler and an officer with the Cook County sheriff’s office who signed up to volunteer for PAWS, plays with Jada after Thursday’s news conference at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic in Little Village.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The PAWS Chicago Medical Center serves 25,000 pets a year, and it anticipates that number to go up this year, according to PAWS Chicago CEO Susanna Wickham.

Dogs in the hospital need about three to five walks a day, she added.

“The labor involved with just walking [dogs] and giving them attention is extreme and is something we need a lot of help with here at PAWS,” Wickham said.

Roman said everybody benefits from the initiative.

“Our jobs are stressful enough already,” he said. “[It’s good to have] these opportunities to come here and kind of forget your own stuff and giving opportunity to one of these dogs that need it.”

Sanoma receives pets during a press conference Thursday at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center in Little Village.

Sanoma gets some attention during a news conference Thursday at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center in Little Village.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Anna Wilk, 39, an officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s office who expressed interest in volunteering for PAWS, walks Jada after a news conference Thursday at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center in Little Village.

Anna Wilk, an officer with the Cook County sheriff’s office who expressed interest in volunteering for PAWS, walks Jada after a press conference Thursday at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center in Little Village.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Anna Wilk, 39, and Jerry Roman, 46, who are K-9 officers at the Cook County Sheriff’s office, interact with Jada after a news conference Thursday at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic in Little Village. The sheriff’s office and PAWS announced a partnership that allows officers to attempt to de-stress by volunteering to walk and interact with dogs and cats.

K-9 officers Anna Wilk and Jerry Roman play with Jada Thursday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Jada receives a treat while another dog watches after a press conference at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic in the Little Village neighborhood, where the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and PAWS announced a partnership that allows officers to walk and interact with dogs and cats on a volunteer basis, Thursday, Feb. 16. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Jada gets a treat while another dog watches through a window after Thursday’s news conference at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center in Little Village.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The Latest
Lockett has grown to a legit 6-4 and is a big playmaker with poise and an impressive all-around tool kit.
A look at how the locals performed at the EYBYL, Under Armour and Adidas competitions.
The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, was being brought with 30 state and district attorneys general and seeks to break up the monopoly they say is squeezing out smaller promoters and hurting artists.
About 5:20 a.m., Metra reported “extensive delays due to a pedestrian incident.” The person struck died due to their injuries, according to Bartlett police.
“Bringing a WNBA team to Toronto represents an important milestone for our league as we continue to expand both domestically and outside the United States,” commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement.