Peru council talks potential of comfort dog for school, community

State’s attorney’s office would buy the dog for the city

Peru City Hall in Peru, Illinois

Peru has been presented with a unique opportunity as the La Salle County State’s Attorney’s Office agreed to purchase a comfort dog for the police department.

Peru Police Chief Sarah Raymond said during Monday’s Peru City Council meeting the dog will be for School Resource Officer Brian Zebron to utilize while working in the schools.

“The dog will be paid for by the state’s attorney’s office,” Raymond said. “We have plans and ideas to make it more community oriented with donations from the businesses, since the dog will be utilized within the community.”

Raymond said the purchase of the dog should be of no cost to anyone other than the state’s attorney, and the school is willing to chip in for the cost of owning the dog.

Once the dog is selected and purchased it would be with Zebron at all times and would be his partner, but ultimately the department’s, Raymond said.

Zebron said he was excited for the opportunity to get a comfort dog for the community because the dogs provide unconditional love with no judgment.

“Many students here at the school need this type of emotional support to help with self-worth as well as reduce stress, anxiety, depression and try to end some loneliness they have in their lives,” he said. “I just think it is a great tool to enhance the self-esteem of many young children who need to have that built up.”

Raymond said the dog could be used to encourage and cultivate positive relationships with the public through community use, as well.

Raymond said she is unsure what breed the dog will be yet, but right now Zebron has been looking at a St. Bernard.

“Something big and fluffy with long hair is kind of what he’s going for,” she said.

Zebron said some of the aspects he is looking for in a dog include temperament, medical history, breed, age and the background of the breeder.

“Temperament is most crucial to me,” he said. “I want a laid-back calm dog comfortable in all environments including schools, outdoors, and generally any public area with lots of people. I would look for a social dog with confidence to intermix with anyone it encounters.”

Zebron said he also would take recommendations from residents and organizations that have knowledge, training and experience in selecting a breed for a specific job such as this.

Residents can donate to the Peru Police Department to help with the costs of keeping the dog by sending checks to 1503 Fourth St., Peru, or drop off donations at the municipal building.

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