Comfort dogs to the rescue in Newtown

Comfort dogs to the rescue in Newtown

Addison Strychalsky, 2, of Newtown, Conn., pets Libby, a golden retriever therapy dog, during a visit to a memorial for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims in Newtown, Dec. 18, 2012. (David Goldman/AP Photo)

Print
Email
|

by ABC News

WHAS11.com

Posted on December 19, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 19 at 6:29 PM

(ABC News) -- Some much-needed smiles were brought to the children of Newtown, Conn., by way of seven dogs especially trained to comfort survivors in the wake of a disaster.

Seeing the dogs led to some of the town’s children smiling for the first time since Friday’s murderous rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, said Tim Hetzner of the Lutheran Church Charities

The dogs, mostly golden retrievers, “bring some relief” to children, and put “a smile on their face, kind of like a teddy bear, but a live one,” Hetzner told ABC News.

Hetzner, who has taken dogs to New York and New Jersey after superstorm Sandy hit in October and to Joplin, Mo., following a devastating  tornado, said the animals are “like a counselor” meting out  ”trusting unconditional love.”

Hetzner says his organization begins training dogs as puppies when they are about five and half weeks old. It takes a year to train the dogs, making them calm enough to work with the public in post-disaster situations.

Some of the dogs were stationed outside an interfaith memorial service on Sunday night, at which President Obama spoke, eulogizing the 20 children and seven adults killed in a massacre executed by Adam Lanza, 20, last Friday.

According to the Lutheran Church Charities website the seven dogs in Newtown are: Abbie, Chewie, Luther, Ruthie, Barnabas, Hannah and Portage. Each of the dog’s has its own Facebook page.
 

Print
Email
|