Police Dog Works to Comfort the Grieving

Police Dog Works to Comfort the Grieving

Just seven weeks after the death of his handler and law enforcement partner, Winston the chocolate Labrador is back to work as a therapy dog in Champaign County, Illinois.

Originally from the Paws and Stripes school in Florida, Winston met University of Illinois police Lt. Aaron Landers back in December, according to The Miami Herald. The two were together 24/7 as Winston got used to his new surroundings, the people he interacted with, and his responsibilities as a police dog.

Unfortunately, Lt. Landers died in a traffic accident in August.

Lt. Landers’ family and Chief Alice Cary of the University of Illinois Police Department (UIPD) determined that Winston will stay with the Landers and keep on working with the UIPD. This family began the healing process by resuming their normal activities and responsibilities.

Currently, Winston is partnered with Lt. Tim Hetrick, who has been with the UIPD for the last 19 years. Lt. Hetrick now also heads the Community Outreach and Support Team that Lt. Landers led about a year ago.

Winston was noticeably upset after the funeral, but he was back to his old self and eager to get things done after a few days at work. On a typical day, Lt. Hetrick picks Winston up for work at around 6:30 A.M., then brings Winston back to the Landers family residence on his way home.

Helping Dogs Adjust to Changes in the Environment

Unprecedented events at home, which can be as mundane as a change in schedule or as devastating as the loss of a family member, are not lost on pets. Human and furred family members should work together to comfort each other and take steps to ensure that everyone can adjust accordingly.

At times, engaging in physical activity like taking a walk or hiking can help pets and their owners feel a bit better. With that in mind, it may be a good idea to go on an occasional run alongside your dog. Make sure to do this safely by using custom dog collars or harnesses so that your pup doesn’t stray too far from you. You can also teach your pup new tips and tricks to keep yourself and your fur baby busy and productive.

For more news about pets and the latest trends in personalized dog products, check out the PrideBites blog. We post articles several times every week.