Emotions run high during disaster response, and these fluffy pups are filling an essential need.
The Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry uses its dogs to comfort those suffering from a tragedy. They use the skills of purebred golden retrievers to help in times of disaster. Recently, they took their compassionate ministry to Florida to assist first responders.
Surfside Condo Disaster
Nine golden retrievers from the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry took their national human-care ministry straight to those who need them the most; the first responders in Florida searching for those who are missing in the rubble after last week's Surfside Condo collapse. The pups also lent a comforting paw to those anxiously waiting for news of the 62 people yet to be found, as of July 12. They also comforted those who had lost family members in the collapse.
Bonnie Fear, the Crisis Coordinator for the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, told WPLG Local 10, "These dogs are here for you."
"A lot of times they come up, they'll fall to their knees, they'll start crying or they'll smile. We try not to say anything, we let the dog be the bridge for those people to grieve the loss, whatever they're feeling."
- Bonnie Fear
About Lutheran Church Charities
The pups have provided outreach and comfort at many different tragedies since 2008. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy in Connecticut, the pups were there for comfort. They also went to Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and even went to Texas to provide comfort after shootings there.
The dogs spend time in training facilities learning everything they need to know to become certified comfort dogs. In addition, the dogs are AKC registered and have to pass the Good Citizenship Test. The training facilities are in Northbrook, Illinois, and Nebraska, while the 130 registered dogs come from 27 different states. The dogs are placed with churches and other Christian human care ministries.
The dogs help the ministry begin conversations about faith. They also create opportunities to share compassion as well as the proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear it.
Multiple Doggie Ministries
The dogs and their caregivers do not just help in disaster situations. They focus their outreach on people of all ages and all backgrounds. They even made it possible to have a virtual visit with one of these sweet pups when in-person visits were not possible.
The Kare 9 Military ministry is run by veterans for veterans to help those who have served and their families. The group also runs a police ministry as well as visits nursing homes.
You can request a visit on their website or social media pages. The group does not charge for its visits and runs off of donations.
Have you spent time with a comfort dog? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!