Comfort Dogs Travel to Boston

In today's world, tragedies are never in short supply. Natural catastrophes have been called an 'act of God' but when a tragedy is an act of man it is also very devastating and so senseless to try to understand why one of our own species would hurt another human.

In 2008 a program was started as a response to a shooting at Northern Illinois University, in which five students were killed by a gunman. The program consisted some young golden retrievers and their trainers whose only purpose was to provide comfort to those in the aftermath of a tragedy. Only a handful of comfort dogs were part of the group initially, but the team now consists of 67 canines spread across seven states.

The program has been very successful because of the fact that animals have a special, nonthreatening and unconditional way of showing comfort and love when a person is in shock and suffering from unspeakable circumstances. In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings, the dogs were sent there to comfort both the children and the adults with their losses. The dogs lie quietly next to a person and are available for as many hugs and shedding of tears that the person needs to express. The results are nothing short of miraculous.

Sadly once again, tragedy has struck innocent people in Boston, Massachusetts with the recent bombing of the the Boston Marathon this week. Horrific injuries were incurred and several tragic deaths were caused as a result of this act of cowardly terrorism. People are in a state of shock and pain for which there feels like there is no relief from.

Despite this, tales of hope abound in the wake of the bombings, and the four-legged workers are pitching in also to help provide relief and hugs to those in need. Throughout the rest of the week, the Boston community can count on canine comfort from five specially-trained golden retrievers deployed by Lutheran Church Charities in Addison, Ill.

Yesterday on Tuesday, three of the organization’s comfort dogs flew from Chicago to Boston, where they joined two other golden retrievers who have been working with bereaved students and parents at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., every day since December.

The dogs are scheduled to remain in Boston until Sunday, and possibly longer depending on the needs of the community. They’re stationed at the First Lutheran Church, which is a few blocks from the finish line of Monday’s marathon and the site of the bombings. Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities, says the team will most likely visit the area’s hospitals as well, where over 100 victims are being treated.

“I would imagine their effect will be the same as it was in Newtown. They bring a calming effect to people and help them process the various emotions that they go through in times like this. People talk to the dogs — they’re like furry counselors. It’s a chance to help bring some relief to people that are shaken up because of the bombings, ” said Hetzner.

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Responses to "Comfort dogs sent to Boston to help heal those in need (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    "With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."

    From Desiderata, Max Ehrmann

  2. Anonymous says:

    How wonderful dogs are - especially Goldens and Labs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    DOG is GOD backwards

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