Chester the Springer Spaniel joins Libertyville fire department as comfort dog

The newest member of the Libertyville Fire Department won’t be fighting fires but has been coming regularly to headquarters on Milwaukee Avenue the past few weeks and is considered a valuable asset.

Chester is an 8-month-old springer spaniel trained to facilitate emotional, therapeutic and comfort support of department employees. He comes from Canines 4 Comfort, a Round Lake-based charitable organization that placed canine Elwood with the Libertyville Police Department last year.

“Due to the tremendous success and support our police department received with Elwood, we saw the benefit of getting our own comfort dog,” Fire Chief Mike Pakosta said.

“We see a huge benefit in not only our own personnel’s mental health but also the potential benefits Chester will have on the public, the schools and anyone else that may need a comfort dog to help them smile,” he added.

'You can't help but love him': Laid-back comfort dog newest member of Libertyville Police Department

Elwood, a 1-year-old retriever mix, joined the police department in April 2023 to provide comfort and emotional support to victims during interviews, to help officers decompress after a tough call, and as a community goodwill ambassador.

Chester’s handler is Lt. Mike Weaver, who immediately volunteered for the assignment, Pakosta said. The pair became acquainted when Weaver attended weekly training run by Canines for Comfort in Libertyville, he added.

Pawfficer Billie set to bring comfort to Vernon Hills community

An at-home visit with Weaver and his family followed, and Chester has been living with them for the past few weeks.

The village board last week approved a resolution for a placement with Canines 4 Comfort outlining responsibilities of the parties.

“Chester and Elwood know each other, so I see them working a lot as a team in areas of public education, supporting mental health treatment and wellness for those in need, as well as personnel mental health support,” Pakosta said.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.