Research has shown that simply petting a dog can lower your stress level. With this in mind, organizations have created teams of canines whose one role is to be petted by humans in stressful situations. This was exemplified in Surfside, Florida. Rescue workers were there to help recover the victims of the Champlain Towers condo collapse. While there, nine Golden Retrievers arrived to offer comfort to first responders and their families.
The dogs are part of Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and were dispatched from Florida, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina, and Tennessee. “The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their ministry teams served first responders and their families who are working around the clock doing search and rescue, and now recovery, for the people who are still unaccounted for, as well as family members who have lost loved ones,” Debra Baran, Director of Communications for Lutheran Church Charities, told My Modern Met.
“First responders include emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, firefighters, police officers, city, state, and federal personnel. They are all working tirelessly with the destruction of the Champlain Towers. In addition, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs served all in that area who are working selflessly or are affected by this tragic event.”
The team of Golden Retrievers offered some much-needed comfort for those in crisis, wearing blue vests that read, “Please Pet Me.” People couldn’t help but go up and touch them, whether it be with smiles or through tears. The dogs are sweet and leaned into the embraces of those people who need it the most, offering brief but meaningful respite before they continue their recovery efforts.
In addition to the K-9 Comfort Dogs, LCC sent hearts and markers for the memorial site in Surfside. The organization placed one for everyone who did not survive the collapse; visitors can sign and leave condolence messages, too.