The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs have an amazing sense to know when someone is hurting. People sense the dog's gentle spirit and find unconditional acceptance and peace when they are hurting or grieving. There is something so therapeutic about hugging a dog.
After the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas this week, one extraordinary group sent a unique team that is specially trained to respond in such situations. They are the K-9 Comfort Dogs of Lutheran Church Charities.
The animals and their handlers are part of a unique ministry that trains Golden Retrievers to bring comfort and healing to people in need of emotional support. The dogs are good listeners, non-judgmental and have an instinct to know when someone is hurting.
Generally, the K-9 Comfort Dogs work in their local parishes, helping people who have experienced a traumatic event, such as a critical illness, or death of a loved one. They are great at working with special needs children, and residents of nursing homes. But when disaster strikes, Lutheran Church Charities is ready to send in a team of dogs and handlers to bring mercy and compassion to those affected, but they go only where they are invited.
In response to an urgent request from First Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in downtown Las Vegas, seventeen K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers from places like Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, and Arizona arrived to minister to victims, hospital staff, and first responders. Each wears a vest that says, “Please pet me”.
Supporting victims in the aftermath of a violent attack is nothing new to many of the Retrievers and their handlers. A team was dispatched to Newtown, Connecticut, after the Sandy Hook shootings, to Massachusetts after the Boston marathon bombing. And they helped victims cope after the mass shooting in Orlando last year. Interacting with these beautiful and highly trained dogs is giving people in Las Vegas a chance to step back from the sadness and fear they feel and to move forward in the healing process.
K-9 Comfort Dogs never charge a fee for their service; they depend on donations. To learn more about these special dogs and their mission, or to make a contribution to help support them, visit the website, LutheranChurchcharities.org and click on the link for K-9 Comfort Dogs.
Many of us know all too well how much it helps to hug a furry friend for comfort, when we’re speaking of pets.