The K-9 Comfort Dog team of six Golden Retrievers will now head to Dallas to help where they can.
Luther, Ruthie, Katie, Rufus, Pax, and Pheobe are six dogs that are no strangers to heartbreak. They are therapy comfort dogs part of the K-9 Comfort Dog team out of Northbrook, Illinois and they helped comfort people after the recent Orlando shooting, the Oregon community college shooting in 2015, the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, and the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.
Now the dogs are in Dallas to help people grieve after the shooting on Thursday that killed five officers.
The dogs were invited to Dallas by a local mission church and the Dallas Police Department to help people make sense of the current turmoil in this country. The group will be visiting the many memorials throughout the city sporting vests that say "Please Pet Me."
The dogs were also at a candlelight vigil held last night at the City Hall.
"Our primary focus of this trip is the Police Department, obviously, and their families and their children and those support services for the Police Department ... and to the community, because everyone suffers," said Tim Hetzner, president of the charity. "We talked to a police officer before leaving Chicago, and they are tore up over this. It affects everyone."
The dogs have been at the scene of many tragedies but their handlers see a change when people grieving have a therapy animal nearby.
"When [people] pet a dog, it lowers their heart rate and they relax. And when they relax, they are able to start to process what they are feeling," Hetzner said.
"An important part of the healing process is to be able to talk about it, and dogs are great listeners. They are confidential ... they aren't judgmental, and they are there to love on people."
The group and the caring dogs will stay in Dallas for as long as necessary, visiting with first responders, making appearances at events held in the community, visiting newsrooms, and even in waiting rooms at hospitals.
If you would like to host the therapy dogs in Dallas, fill out this form here.