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Honoring the Dogs that Serve

It's an All Four Paws celebration.

There's an old saying, "Dogs are man's best friend." For the dogs that work with police, fire and emergency responder organizations along with and companion/service pooches for those who are blind or physically handicapped individuals, the reward is expected to come in the form of treats, accolades and friendly pats.  

A ceremony in honor of the canine community's efforts is planned to begin at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at's Lee F. Rosenquist Auditorium. The date was selected to coincide with local tributes for firefighters, police and citizens who lost their lives along with the police and rescue dogs that sacrificed their lives in the search for survivors.   

The event is sponsored by , Lincoln-Way High School District 210, PreLabs, Clear H2O and .

Randy Pavlik, owner of Stone City Kennel Club, said dogs are used by K-9 police units and more to sniff out everything from Alzheimer's victims who have wandered away from home to drugs.

Those who specialize as therapy or companion dogs are trained to brighten the day for young readers, such as those who participate in the springtime. They're non-threatening and just delighted to listen to youngsters read their stories aloud.  

On occasion, one of the four-legged families of canines is spotted on a leash and visiting patients in hospitals. A sunny disposition demonstrated by a tail-wagging pooch is known to have a positive effect on patients. When given the signal, these pets begin poking their cold noses into doorways; once waved-in; they're more than happy to sit awhile with a patient. A visit from a friendly pooch seems to help reduce stress among pre-surgery patients, according to Lottie Johnson, New Lenox, whose certified therapy dog regularly strolls the halls at Palos Community Hospital, Palos Heights.    

Pavlik said, "This will be a patriotic evening and all citizens (especially dog lovers) are cordially invited to attend.  This is a way for all of us to remember the tragedy and celebrate the heroism of 9/11."

Highlights of the ceremony include a patriotic keynote address, a video presentation, music and songs and an historical interpretation of taps.

"Very special dogs and their human partners" have been selected to receive recognition awards.   Come and learn about the many unbelievable ways these dogs have served all of us, he added.  The dogs being honored are search and rescue dogs, police dogs, therapy dogs, service dogs, vet therapy dogs and school protection dogs.  At the end of the evening a reception is planned and attendees are invited to meet and greet the furry heroes.

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