Monday, June 20, 2016

Comfort dogs offer aid in Orlando

Following the unspeakable horribleness of the terrorist attack in Orlando, the K-9 Comfort Dogs team, a Lutheran Charities program based Northbrook, Illinois (and other locales), arrived in town.

This team had also hurried to comfort victims, families, and emergency workers--anyone really--after the Boston Marathon attack and Sandy Hook shootings.

The team consists of 12 Golden Retrievers and their handlers. Also known, as emotional support dogs, the canines lend a feeling of safety and can bring out healing and grieving in people.

They visited hospitalized victims in Orlando and were lifted up so people in bed could greet and pet them. The patients, said a spokesperson, started smiling or even crying for the first time. They also started talking.

Comfort dogs are not considered service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but are often used in nursing homes, college campuses, or airports, according to Jonah Engel Bromwich, NYT, June 16, 2016.

While it is not fully known that the effects of comfort dogs are lasting, they do reduce anxiety and depression and even PTSD.

Sometimes a creature who cannot speak can say it all. Or make a start anyway.

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