Puppies in training

Donations to Paws for LEOs will go toward training these two puppies for their futures in aiding first responders and law enforcement officers.

Since its beginning in 2015, the non-profit organization Paws for LEOs has continued to develop and expand its services aimed toward enhancing the lives police officers and first responders through highly-trained service dogs.

“Paws has watched many traumatic incidents occur within our community and is realizing that it not only affects our police officers, our first responders but our community also,” says Marianne Maes, Paws for LEOs founder and CEO.

Born last year, Siberian husky puppy Imagine – Emy for short – has been working hard to support not just first responders but the entire community. Now 9 months old, the healthy dog has been reported by Maes to have an “excellent temperament” while undergoing over 15 weeks of training by Jenna Geldreich with Gone to the Dogs and Marsha Boggs with the Ouray Kennel Club.

By 12 months, Emy will take a public access test with Maes and another trainer. At a minimum of 18 months, he’ll be available to be matched with someone; in the meantime, he’ll keep training.

Yet already, Emy has gotten more involved in his community.

“When having Emy out within the community, I have found that the (lockout) incident in late fall not only affected our police officers but our community as well. Everyone that meets Emy seems to be very welcoming to this young dog’s personality,” Maes says.

He’s enjoyed time with children at school during anti-bullying month, being with the girls from elevateHER and visiting local businesses to allow employees to de-stress with some cuddle time. Maes believes there’s much more Emy can offer the community.

“Paws contacted Chief Tidwell to ask if he would like Emy to come by his request to decompress our police officers after a rough day or just see Emy for a friendly Siberian cuddle and his cute smile. Chief was glad to have Emy come on board when time allows,” Maes says. “Paws believes that while we have service dogs-in-training, that we and they can provide many services to our police officers and our community.”

Don’t miss the chance to meet Emy, his fellow service dogs and the Paws for LEOs members in the BV Community Center’s Pinon Room on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 1 to 3 p.m. for Pop Up – Pup Up. Hear about how far Paws has come and where it’s heading. Coffee and desserts will be served, and police chief Jimmy Tidwell will be a feature speaker at the event.

Paws plans to host another Pop Up – Pup Up in Salida in April, and another in Leadville in June.

Their main fundraiser event will take place Oct. 10 at the BV Community Center, where guests can “fall” in love with Emy.

Paws for LEOs will continue to assist the community, police officers and first responders while their dogs are training. Meanwhile, the organization plans to breed Emy’s mother, Rasty, for another service puppy or two. They also hope to build a training facility that will additionally house “change of career dogs” from other facilities.

“We are very grateful to the Town of Buena Vista, BVPD and the community of Buena Vista for supporting Paws for LEOs and allowing us to provide a mission that is so unique,” Maes says.

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