Comfort Dogs Travel To Orlando To Provide Hope And Solace After Nightclub Tragedy
Comfort dogs have headed to Orlando from all over the country to provide hope and comfort to those affected by the tragic shooting this weekend that left at least 50 dead.
Within hours of the shooting, 12 comfort dogs and their handlers were already making arrangements to travel to Florida. The group was invited by a church in Orlando, near where the attack took place, and includes dogs from all over the United States that are specially trained to help people cope in times of crisis.
Eleven of the dogs arrived Monday, with more flying in on Tuesday. Their job began the second they landed. People in the airport stopped to pet them and begin the long process of healing.
“They help people relax and calm down,” Tim Hetzner, president of the LCC Comfort Dogs, told ABC News. “Your blood pressure goes down when you pet a dog, you feel more comfortable, and people end up talking. They’re good listeners, they’re non-judgmental, they’re confidential.”
So far, the dogs have visited with around 300 people, and will visit many more. They are working with the victims, families and first responders, as well as the community as a whole. They will also be visiting with the staff at the nightclub where the attack took place.
These comfort dogs have been at the scene of countless acts of violence from the Sandy Hook shooting to the Boston Marathon bombing.
The handlers plan on keeping their dogs there for a week, but it could become longer depending on the need. They will continue to do their jobs and help put smiles on peoples faces during such a hard time.