Golden Retriever Comfort Dogs Support Uvalde Students Returning to School After Texas Shooting

·2 min read
Golden Retriever Comfort Dogs Support Uvalde Students Returning to School After Texas Shooting

Golden retrievers make the sweetest greeters!

On Tuesday, students from the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District in Texas, who experienced the May school shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 21 people dead, returned to the classroom at new schools.

For the first day of school, the students had the support of parents, teachers, and 10 golden retriever comfort dogs. The compassionate canines traveled there from across the country to be with the children for the back-to-school season.

Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) K-9 Ministries — known for its nationwide dedication to providing canine comfort and support to those impacted by disasters — made a special effort to bring their comfort dogs to Uvalde for students facing uneasiness about returning to school following the shooting.

Comfort Dogs Ease Anxiety For Kids Returning to School in Uvalde After Tragedy
Comfort Dogs Ease Anxiety For Kids Returning to School in Uvalde After Tragedy

Lutheran Church Charities

"There was a lot of hesitancy and anxiety about getting out of the car and going into the school. So we placed the dogs outside, and I do believe that that did help some of the kids see that dog and go, 'OK, well, I'm going to go pet the dog,'" Bonnie Fear, a crisis response coordinator for the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, said, per CNN.

RELATED: 'Survivors Need Healing': Children of Uvalde Get Back-to-School Haircuts in Poignant Photo Series

"That will keep changing as the needs arise, as the kids get into their routine — and where the dogs are needed, the counselors will instruct us where to go," Fear continued.

"Our goal is to be present with those that are hurting and in need, and we show up and just be with them in whatever they're feeling," she added.

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Comfort Dogs Ease Anxiety For Kids Returning to School in Uvalde After Tragedy
Comfort Dogs Ease Anxiety For Kids Returning to School in Uvalde After Tragedy

Lutheran Church Charities

In May, volunteers with comfort dogs from LCC first arrived in Uvalde following the school shooting to offer loving support to those directly affected by the tragedy.

RELATED: Expert Explains How to Help Survivors of Texas School Shooting Deal with Trauma: 'Healing Takes Time'

Comfort Dogs Ease Anxiety For Kids Returning to School in Uvalde After Tragedy
Comfort Dogs Ease Anxiety For Kids Returning to School in Uvalde After Tragedy

Lutheran Church Charities

The eight golden retrievers who traveled to Texas arrived in Uvalde less than 24 hours after the shooting.

LCC has experience bringing comfort dogs to mass shootings sites. Following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 first-graders and six educators dead, LCC arrived with comfort dogs to help console children.

The charity's K-9 unit has expanded from four dogs in 2008 to more than 130 dogs across 27 states. Animal lovers can help these comfort dogs with their important work by donating to LCC, which allows the group to cover the canines' travel expenses.