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Sheriff’s office gets new furry recruit

On Monday, Sheriff John T. Wilcher deputized a 4-month-old female labrador retriever to work at the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).

The new recruit, Deputy Lexi, received her official badge and will provide support to faculty at the sheriff’s office. She was donated by the Talki Foundation, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization that raises awareness and funding for service animals and their handlers, according to the CCSO.

First responders already deal with a great deal of emotional stress, especially during this uncertain time. Deputy Lexi will work to provide emotional support and companionship for officers and staff.

“Law enforcement is a high-pressure job. We are always looking for ways to support each other, and often just the simple act of petting a dog can contribute to the well-being of a person,” Sheriff Wilcher said.

Deputy Lexi’s handler and trainer is Jennifer Messer, Program Director of Operation New Hope.

“We are excited to have Deputy Lexi as part of our team. She will bring many smiles when they’re needed the most,” said Messer.

Operation New Hope is a Chatham County Detention Center inmate program that selects dogs from Chatham County Animal Services, Renegade Paws Rescue, and other dog rescue organizations to lower the recidivism rate at the jail. The inmates learn to train and care for dogs during a 4-week cycle. Once the dogs graduate, an adoption event is held to place the dogs into their forever homes.

Dog makes deliveries to quarantined neighbor

In these “ruff” times, it’s nice to hear about someone, or some dog, doing some good.

Sunny the golden retriever lives with his owner, Karen Eveleth, in Manitou Springs. They’ve been neighbors with Renee Hellman for over a decade, and when she self-quarantined for her own health, the two thought of a clever way to help her get her groceries.

“She got the list, she gave it to Sunny, Sunny brought it to me,” Eveleth explained. “I went to the store, got her her groceries, and he delivered them all to her.”

He’s been making trips back and forth from his house to his neighbors since the coronavirus outbreak started weeks ago.

“What a wonderful thing, just a sweet thing,” Hellman said. “So he started doing the schlepping, back and forth. It’s been fun, it’s been a real treat.”

Hellman has some health issues and relies on oxygen to breathe. She says getting food and visits from the pup makes the days more bearable.

“Little things like Sunny coming over to visit is nice, and it makes you feel good. It’s a way of communicating.”

Sunny, bringing a little light in an uncertain time.

“Anybody can do something small, that can be so helpful,” Eveleth said.

Sunny also gets mail for his owner and even picks up trash when they go for walks. Eveleth says she hopes sharing this story will make people smile.

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