Comfort Dogs Come to Boston in the Wake of Tragedy

Comfort Dogs
Comfort Dogs

Back in December, I wrote about dogs who are specially trained to assist in post-traumatic stress situations when they went to console the people of Newtown, Connecticut. Known as the Comfort Dogs for Lutheran Church Charities, the dogs are specially trained to interact with people in disaster situations. Now, they have arrived in Boston to comfort its devastated community.

Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities, says the dogs will stay at least until Sunday.

The dogs will be stationed at First Lutheran Church, which is within a few blocks from the finish line where the bombings took place. Hetzner and his team also hope to visit over 100 victims still in hospitals, and says the dogs bring much needed therapy to the frightened and injured:

Related: 7 inspiring stories of dogs that saved their owners

"They bring a calming effect to people and help them process the various emotions that they go through in times like this. "People talk to the dogs - they're like furry counselors. It's a chance to help bring some relief to people that are shaken up because of the bombings."

The comfort dogs have also been to New York and New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and to Joplin, Missouri, after their devastating tornado. The program began back in 2008 with just a handful of dogs who helped in the aftermath of a shooting at Northern Illinois University (five students were shot and killed). Now the program has 67 dogs in seven different states ready, willing, and able to provide comfort and love during the worst times.

By Danielle Sullivan
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For 20 feel-good photos of animals to find comfort after the Boston tragedy, visit Babble!

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