This week, in the wake of the Sunday night’s tremendous tragedy which rocked Las Vegas, as well as the entire nation, golden retrievers affiliated with LCC (Lutheran Church Charities) K-9 Comfort Dogs, have visited the community which is still reeling from the traumatic incident. The team of dogs has been visiting schools, churches, hospitals and first responders – their calming presence is providing a stepping stone towards healing for those impacted by the shooting massacre which took place outside of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on October 1.
Tim Hetzner, the president and CEO of Lutheran Church Charities and founder of the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministries, told BBC News that the comfort dogs are there to serve the entire community with “mercy and compassion.”
Rick Pollock, one of the dog handlers, explained how comfort dogs help, “it’s not about the dogs, it’s about building bridges to build relationships with people who have been traumatized.” Pollock noted that the dogs allow for a connection to be made, which in turn allows impacted individuals the ability to open up and share…a stepping stone on the path to healing.
Hetzner said, “the beauty about a dog is that they are really comfort rugs,” adding, “they show unconditional love, they’re confidential, they don’t keep notes and they are non judgmental.” Because the dogs are safe, and because their very presence is scientifically proven to promote a sense of calm, victims are able to open up about what they experienced.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs regularly deploy to areas which have been struck by disaster and tragedy. Hetzner stated that the teams go “anywhere in the country” where they are invited. Recently, the comfort dogs have been to hurricane impacted areas of Texas and Florida and in the past, they have helped to provide comfort in the communities which were impacted by shootings in Dallas and Orlando. Basically, the comfort teams, who respond to areas free of charge, work to comfort anyone who needs help processing the trauma which they have witnessed and survived.
Click here if you are interested in making a donation to the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Travel Expense fund.
Learn more about LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs at this link.
(Video via Lutheran Church Charities/YouTube)