Early in 2017, a group of leaders from the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and PAWS Chicago came together to launch a new public art installation campaign and fundraising initiative called K9s for Cops. The initiative serves to memorialize Chicago’s heroic fallen officers while supporting the families of police officers killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty, while also honoring the 65 dogs who are part of the canine team helping Chicago police conduct building searches, detect narcotics and explosives, and track down suspects.
Artists are invited to team with a sponsor to paint iconic German Shepherd Statues molded so the the dogs are wearing a protective Chicago Police vest and PAWS Chicago collar tag. When complete, these statues will be on display along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile from July 23 through Labor Day, after which they will be auctioned off to raise funds for Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and PAWS Chicago.
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation will use the funds raised to provide financial assistance to families of slain officers, maintain the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park near Soldier Field, and purchase bullet-proof vests for police officers. PAWS Chicago will use the money raised to continue their work to provide residents in underserved communities with free spay/neuter services and medical care for their pets.
The Hyatt Regency Chicago elected to participate as a sponsor and commissioned me to execute their statue. I worked to get all paint, primer and sealant donated for the project.
Recently it was National Pup day and it was so lovely seeing everyone call out there four legged, furry and barky family members on social media. My family is super blessed with the companionship of our dog Tiki who was a stray that found us. If your family is feeling the call to add a pet to your home I suggest you visit your local shelter such as the excellent PAWS Chicago and explore adoption options. There are so many dogs just waiting for a forever home, trust me for every measure of love you give a dog it will be returned a hundred fold.