A group of 10 Golden Retriever dogs traveled 800 miles from Addison, Illinois to Newtown, Connecticut to comfort residents dealing with the aftermath of the recent tragedy. The group of dogs, called “Comfort Dogs,” are a part of the Lutheran Church Charities.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the Comfort Dog program was initiated in 2008 when five students were killed at Northern Illinois University. A group of dog owners associated with Lutheran Church Charities brought their pets to the campus to offer a distraction and to help comfort those in need after the tragedy. The students enjoyed the visit so much they later petitioned the University to being the dogs back.
The Comfort Dog program has since grown from a few dogs to 60 with groups in six different states. Each dog has its own Facebook page, Twitter, and e-mail account. The dogs carry business cards containing their contact information.
The Lutheran Church Charities website offers updates about the Comfort Dogs’ trip to Newtown. The latest update reads:
“LCC Comfort dogs and handlers arrived safely in Newtown late Saturday evening. Upon arrival they went to Christ the King and met with Pastor Robert Morris. They will be with the congregation this morning and will then head into town. The Comfort Dogs and handlers will be at Newtown High School this evening for a gathering that President Obama will be attending.”
The Comfort Dogs will be joining Sandy Hook students for after-school activities on Monday afternoon. Anyone interested in learning more about the Comfort Dogs or donating to the program can find more information here.