Ten Golden Retriever dogs, called “Comfort Dogs” traveled 800 miles from the Chicago area to Newtown, Connecticut, on Saturday, December 15, to comfort survivors, mourning families, and others affected by the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the Comfort Dog program began in 2008 when five students were killed at Northern Illinois University. Dog owners who are associated with Lutheran Church Charities brought their pets to the campus to help ease the pain of students who lost friends and faith after the tragedy. The students found such solace in the gentle animals that they later asked the University to being the dogs back.
The Comfort Dog program has now grown to 60 dogs, 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. They were in attendance for President Barack Obama's speech at an interfaith gathering Sunday night. The latest update reads:
“LCC Comfort dogs and handlers arrived safely in Newtown late Saturday evening…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 can find more information here.