Comfort Dogs Are Flown Into Orlando to Help Survivors Cope

Few things are more heartwarming than the bushy-tailed, boundless affection of a puppy, particularly during a time of tragedy. So, when the news broke of Sunday morning’s mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the Chicago-based Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry quickly organized a group of 12 trained comfort dogs and handlers from all around the country to offer solace and support to the local community in the form of friendly, furry snuggles.

LLC’s president, Tem Hetzner, explained the logistics to The Dodo: “On Sunday, we put a dispatch out to our dogs across the country to see who could come out…We try to always respond in 24 hours after being invited.” Sure enough, 11 endearing canines arrived in Orlando on Monday, plus one more on Tuesday, and they brought soothing smiles within minutes of landing at the airport. So far, they’ve taken part in a vigil with over 7,000 other attendees and interacted directly with hundreds of people, from first responders to families of victims to Pulse staff members.

The team of canines and companions plans to spend a full week in Orlando, though they’ll linger longer if needed. So far, it seems like the puppies are succeeding in bringing a bit of much-needed brightness during a dark and difficult time. Hetzner explains that the dogs have an immediately soothing effect on those who are suffering: “Some people just want to lay on the ground with them and talk. The dogs are like a bridge for people to talk about what's bothering them. The dogs are confidential, they're good listeners and they're nonjudgmental. And talking about things is one of the most important ways to heal.”

Image above via Ruthie Comfort Dog

Image via Kye Comfort Dog

Image via Kye Comfort Dog

Image via Barnabas Comfort Dog

Image via Barnabas Comfort Dog

Image via Barnabas Comfort Dog

Image via Barnabas Comfort Dog

Image via Kye Comfort Dog

Image via Kye Comfort Dog

Image via Kye Comfort Dog

Image via Mahlah Comfort Dog

Image via Ruthie Comfort Dog

Image via Ruthie Comfort Dog

Image via Ruthie Comfort Dog

LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry: Website | Facebook
via [The Dodo]

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