‘Comfort dogs’ help deal with grief

From usatoday.com

‘Comfort dogs’ help Newtown deal with grief

Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY3:56p.m. EST December 18, 2012

Since 2008, Golden Retrievers from Lutheran Church Charities visit scenes of national tragedy to help people grieve.

A team of Golden Retrievers — “comfort dogs” — arrived in Newtown, Conn., over the weekend to help grief-stricken residents deal with the school shooting tragedy.

Lutheran Church Charities sent 10 dogs to the town for residents who want to pet them or pray with the dog’s handler, Tim Hetzner, president of the organization, told the Chicago Tribune.

The dogs not only show up in times of national tragedy, they also visit hospitals, nursing homes and parks to provide comfort to those in need.

“The dogs have become the bridge,” dog-handler Lynn Buhrke told the Tribune. “People just sit down and talk to you.”

The dogs have a Facebook page, plus Twitter accounts and e-mail addresses so people can keep in touch with them.

The dogs — from Illinois and Indiana — that currently are in Newtown include Barnabas, Chewie, Chloe, Hannah, Luther, Prince, Ruthie and Shami.

The dogs’ first stop on Sunday was Christ the King Lutheran Church, which was holding funerals this week for two young children killed in the Friday massacre.

The comfort-dog initiative started in 2008 at Northern Illinois University after a gunman killed five students.

The dogs were originally sent simply to provide a distraction to the student community, but proved so popular they were invited back, the newspaper reports. The program has since grown from a handful of dogs in the Chicago area to 60 dogs in six states.

Advertisements

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: