On Monday, shortly after the horrific Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub, 12 comfort dogs packed their bags and headed to Florida. The 12 dogs traveled from all over the country (7 states to be exact) to be with the friends and families of the victims and survivors.
According to Paws for People, it’s been scientifically proven that comfort animals can help reduce blood pressure, encourage relaxation, lessen depression and reduce anxiety during times of severe emotional and physical stress.
The dogs are from the K-9 Comfort Dogs of Lutheran Church Charities. The organization’s website says the dogs’ names are Barnabas, Gracie, Hannah, Jacob, Jewel, Katie, Kye, Mahiah, Phoebe, Ruthie, Sasha and Susie. They are all golden retrievers.
Why goldens? “They’re good dogs by nature, they’re a lovable breed. Also, because of their fur, they leave a little of themselves with everyone they meet,” said Tim Hetzner, president of the LCC Comfort Dogs to ABC.
The program started in February 2008 and has since grown to over 100 dogs that live in 23 states. These dogs have provided unwavering love and support to people during times of need ranging from natural disasters to acts of violence.
The comfort dogs have worked to support victims of Superstorm Sandy, the Sandy Hook Tragedy, the Boston Marathon Bombings, the plant explosion in West Texas in 2013, the tornados and storms in Moore, Oklahoma and Washington, Illinois in 2013, the 2014 earthquake in Napa Valley, California, the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Tragedy and the Umpqua Community College Tragedy.
As a non-profit organization, they are funded by donations. You can support them in various forms (not just cash) by clicking here.