Wednesday, May 8, 2013
So, I literally just saw this on TV, and I hardly wiped the tear from my eye when I ran here to tell you about it.
See that gorgeous Golden Retriever there? That awesome animal is part of a wonderful organization called K9 Comfort Dogs. A charitable organization run by the Lutheran Church, K9 Comfort dogs are a group of 60 dogs whose sole purpose is to be pet and provide comfort to those in need. These trained service dogs are providing the country with a whole lot more than comfort.
Since the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, Maggie, a K-9 Comfort dog has been serving at the Sandy Hook Elementary School everyday since the deadly shootings. Tim Hetzner, President of the Lutheran Church Charities, says the dogs are sometimes better than a grief counselor.
"Some people hold onto the dog for five minutes or more because that's what they need," Hetzner said. "It depends on the person and what they're going through."
Soon, Hetzner said, the people begin speaking to the dogs.
"They tell the dog the story of what happened," Hetzner said. "Dogs are great listeners…. They can sense when someone is struggling."
Those fantastic K9's jetted to Boston the day after the Marathon bombings and laid on the bricks just outside the First Lutheran Church on Berkley Street to provide hugs for those in mourning. Studies have shown that just petting a dog can decrease a patient's stress.
"Being around dogs helps decrease patients' stress by prompting the release of oxytocin, which is the hormone that bonds mothers to babies. Studies have shown that patients who are around dogs have increased levels of dopamine -- the "happy" neurotransmitter that helps relieve depression – as well as endorphins and adrenaline."
And there's no better way to take away the pain, if just for a brief moment, by hugging or petting a loving animal. I think the world could use a little K-9 Comfort. Don't you?