May 23, 2013
Addison, Chicago-based Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dog Ministry is now in Moore, Oklahoma. The dogs will meet with families who have suffered a loss, as well as comfort first responders. They also plan to visit shelters in the Moore area.
Now the dogs will do what they do best: provide comfort to those who have suffered horrific physical or psychological injuries from the Oklahoma disaster. In an interview with CBS Chicago, Comfort Ministry President Tim Hetzner stated “They’re trained to just be there and show mercy, compassion, and love. The victims don’t need someone to try and explain what’s happened. They need people to listen. “These dogs are always willing to listen, lick away tears, or return a hug.
The dogs received a church invitation from Oklahoma, and six to ten dogs will remain in the Moore area for at least a week. If needed, the dogs can stay longer. Several of the dogs also have previous tornado disaster experience, having helped the residents of Joplin, Missouri after a devastating tornado in 2011.
The specially trained Golden Retrievers, now famous nationwide for their role as canine first responders, have had a busy agenda these past few years. Some of their ministry includes traveling to Newtown to help those affected by the Sandy Hook shootings back in December. Then on to the victims of the Boston Marathon. They also responded to the shooting in Northern Illinois University in DeKalb after the shooting, as well as after Hurricane Sandy.
The Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dogs program now includes more than 70 dogs in eight states. The golden retrievers, which are kind dogs by nature, have been trained to sit still and be petted.
It’s unfortunate our country has had such a great need of these gentle comfort providers, but it’s a blessing this wonderful outreach exists and is there for those in need.