LAKEMORE The Village of Lakemore Police Department doesn’t have a K-9 unit. However, the officers and volunteers have become canine heroes.

The department has been rescuing lost dogs for more than a year and while Police Chief Ken Ray said 99 percent of the pets are returned to their owners, there is that 1 percent that need a little extra tender loving care.

Like in the case of Angel, who was found by Tom Coleman of TJ Tire laying in the grass, down a hill alongside a creek. It was thought that she was dead. Tom called the police and together the officer and Tom carried the 90-pound mixed boxer bulldog up the hill to the cruiser and then took her to the Lakemore Department.

Ray said they did not have much hope for Angel, who was named by those involved because of how sweet she was. She began to get better but was depressed and would come out to eat and then go back in. She laid under a tree all summer.

Ray said she certainly has a lot of personality.

“She was in terrible shape,” Ray said. “She could barely walk.”

They thought she was an older dog but when he took her to the vet, they learned she was probably about five years old and had probably been in a kennel cage for most of her life. The hair on her legs and tail was all gone, and the veterinarian said that was probably from laying in feces.

“She is a good dog,” Ray said.

Kellie Chapman took Angel into her home as a rescue through the support of Maggie’s Mission pet rescue and adoption service in Medina. Maggie’s Mission is a non-profit that has rescued more than 1,000 dogs and dozens of horses.

This made for a good match as Angel received the medical care she needed. With the love of those that found her and cared for her and the attention she received from the Lakemore officers and the volunteers, Angel found a reason to live. Ray said that everything they have done for the dogs that don’t return home is paid for through donations and volunteers.

Chapman put Angel on a diet, her hair grew back and she bounced back healthy and filled with personality. So much so that she was recently adopted by Jeremy and Carrie Yoder, who are volunteers and Maggie’s Mission. Angel is very happy in her new home and the Yoder’s have fallen in love with her.

The dogs that have come to the police station that don’t have a home have been adopted out. Chapman said that Lakemore firefighters have been adopting dogs and helping to find others to adopt the homeless dogs.

Many Facebook users have followed Angel on the Lakemore Dogs Homeward Bound page. Chapman said she hopes Angel’s story will inspire people to adopt.

Through the dog program, the department has returned at least 100 dogs back to their homes. They know that 12 or more dogs have been adopted out. They market the dogs through the Facebook page, word of mouth and the firemen have been a huge help. The firemen also help walk the dogs.

“It takes a village,” said Chapman.

Chapman has been helping with the dog program at the police station along with Barbara Angerstein and other dedicated volunteers. Ray said that everything is done by volunteers and donations at no cost to the village.

This has saved a lot.

“Not only has it saved the village money, but it has saved dogs lives,” Ray said. “We try not to send them to the pound unless they are a very vicious dog.”

Chapman’s love of dogs and animals can be attested to by her husband, Danny, and their sons. Chapman’s husband is a Springfield firefighter and a patient man as his wife often has a few canine rescues or fosters in the house. At this time, her family has made room for three dogs and of course, the well-known pet pig, Pickles.

The three Chapman boys, Daniel, who is a firefighter for the City of Cleveland; Hunter, who is attending the police academy and will graduate with a degree in criminal justice this summer and is hoping to be hired at the Springfield Police Department; and Luke, who attends Springfield High School, have always been a part of a home with lots of pets.

The Police Department, along with donations from the community, has been able to build a dog kennel to house dogs that are running lose or lost and picked up by officers from Lakemore and other communities. This process saves the community the dollars and time that would be spent on calling Summit County to pick up the dogs. Lakemore pays the county each time they come to the village on a dog call. When a dog is found, it is put on Facebook and, many times, the owner comes to claim it. It is usually a case where the canine just got out and had a great visit around the community.

For more information, call the department at 330-733-6125 or visit the Lakemore Dogs Homeward Bound Facebook page.