Comfort dogs help Sandy Hook victims' families cope after the tragedy (VIDEO)
In light of the senseless shooting at Sandy Hook elementary, one of the main concerns surrounding the tragedy is how the survivors are coping. The majority of those who experienced the awful incident are children younger than 10 years old and helping them recover from the trauma can be difficult. But the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry at Lutheran Church Charities of Chicago have sent specifically trained dogs to help grieving children and adults at funerals and other services in Newtown, Connecticut.
The concept of comfort dogs started 4 years ago after a shooting occurred at Northern Illinois University. The idea helped family and friends of victims cope with the tragedy and since then, there have been 60 dogs in six states ready to aid those in need.
What an amazing and effective method to help people grieving! Understandably the gruesome crime traumatized many children and teachers--but what better way to get your mind off something sad, than by playing with a dog?
Generally the dogs are used during natural disasters, but also help during other grieving circumstances. They each have business cards with their Facebook pages and other forms of contact to stay in touch with those grieving. The seven dogs sent to Sandy Hook elementary go by the names Abbi, Barnabas, Chewie, Hannah, Luther, Prince, and Ruthie.
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According to the president of K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, Tim Hetzner, the dogs are perfect relievers during this time. "Dogs are non-judgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone," he says. It also helps that people talk to the dogs about how they feel even if they don't talk to others about it.
Although it's going to take awhile for things to get back to normal in Sandy Hook, it helps the kids knowing that they have a four pawed friend who is always there for them. I know having a dog makes a stressful day feel better and I'm sure they're going to improve a lot towards their mental recovery every day. Our thoughts and prayers go out to these children and the families of the victims as they go through this rough time.
Image via WGN 9