Comfort Dogs Fly To Orlando To Help Those Affected By Pulse Tragedy

Within hours of hearing of the devastating tragedy at Pulse Nightclub, which killed 49 and injured at least 53 on Sunday, June 12, 2016, over a dozen comfort dogs and their handlers were already making plans, packing their bags and booking flights to Orlando with one simple mission: to provide unconditional love and comfort to the grieving.

Within hours of hearing of the devastating tragedy at Pulse Nightclub, which killed 49 and injured at least 53 on Sunday, June 12, 2016, over a dozen comfort dogs and their handlers were already making plans, packing their bags, and booking flights to Orlando with one simple mission: to provide unconditional love and comfort to the grieving.

Comfort dogs are very similar to other service dogs, in that they undergo specific training to be able to help people with various life challenges. The difference between them and other service dogs is that, instead of being assigned to one person for a specific type of aid (such as guide dogs), they are deployed around the country in times of conflict and tragedy, whenever and wherever they are needed, to provide the kind of love and support that only a dog can.

“Two of my handlers and I will be traveling to Orlando tomorrow along with other teams to bring comfort to those who are hurting. Comfort Dog Teams are deploying from Iowa, Texas, South Carolina, Illinois, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Let us pray for the community of Orlando and for all those hurting and please hold our teams in prayer as we travel to Florida.” – Barnabas Comfort Dog

 

These dogs are trained specifically to provide a sense of compassion, love, and support to people in dire times of need. They are typically deployed following a shooting or other traumatic event.

 

Pictured: The team of more than a dozen golden retrievers and dog handlers who arrived in Orlando, Florida, on Monday. They flew from all over the country, as far as Illinois, Nebraska, Tennessee, and South Carolina

They were sent to Boston after the marathon bombing, Oregon after Umpqua Community College’s school shooting last year, and even to Sandy Hook in 2012.

 
“My new friend and seat mate on our flight to Orlando. She is so kind! She’s traveling home from San Fransisco where she attends college. She was frightened for her friends when she heard about the shootings but says they were all safe.” – Kye Comfort Dog
CTV interviewed Jane Marsh-Johnson, who handles Gracie, on the job in Orlando. “You can sit there and share with (Gracie) things that you may not want to share with a human and she’ll never tell your story,” Marsh-Johnson told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
“Providing comfort at the Candlelight Vigil in Phillips Plaza, downtown Orlando last evening. Thousands held candles and mourned the victims. I met many people and shared comfort and support to all.” – Sasha Comfort Dog
“That gives (survivors) the courage to sit down and pour out their hearts.”
Gracie and the other dogs are organized by Davenport’s Lutheran Church Charity K9 Comfort Dogs, and were brought to Orlando by their local branch of the Lutheran Church.
Golden retrievers are commonly recruited for the role, since they tend to be calm and friendly to strangers
Marsh-Johnson also told CTV that Gracie knows 25 different commands, including lying down on her side to encourage those grieving to rest their heads on her.
The GoFundMe campaign to help the victims of the Pulse shooting has broken records for the most money fundraised on the site. It is now at over 4 million dollars!!! If you would like to contribute in a very concrete way to helping everyone affected by this tragedy you can donate on the Pulse GoFundMe site here.



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