They have names like Zippy, Ruthie, Chewie and Barnabas. They’re a group of Golden Retrievers who came to Newtown to help ease the pain of a tragic situation and bring smiles to some children (and adults) simply by being dogs. It seems to be working.
Their humans, volunteers from the Lutheran Church Charities, made the 800 mile trip from the Chicago area to Connecticut with 10 of these gentle animals whose sole purpose – their job, if you will, is to serve as a distraction for people around the country who are going through times of crisis. Since the Comfort Dog program began, in 2008, their numbers have grown from just a few to the present figure of 60 in 6 different States. The Retrievers have traveled to New Orleans, after Hurricane Isaac, to Joplin, Missouri, in the days after the devastating tornado, and to the tri-State area following Hurricane Sandy. When they’re not traveling, they visit hospitals and senior centers, bringing their own very special, warm, furry hugs. Each dog carries his or her own business cards and they have their own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for children who want to stay in touch with their new friends.
I don’t need to tell you, if you love animals, how a simple pat on the head or a belly rub can help heal and comfort us when we need it the most. Pictures really do speak a thousand words.
Here’s a link to their website: