Team of Golden Retrievers Arrives in Surfside to Comfort First Responders
The latest team to arrive in Miami to assist in the aftermath of the Surfside condo collapse provides support in the form of sloppy kisses, knowing eyes, and fur for catching tears.
The Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry recently deployed nine golden retrievers from all over the country to help with the mental health of the first responders searching for the remains of the dozens still missing in the rubble.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their ministry teams will serve first responders who are working tirelessly and selflessly in the search and rescue—and now recovery—of the 62 people who are still unaccounted for, as well as family members who have lost loved ones. The sweet pups will help rescuers cope with the extreme emotional toll of the tragedy.
"These dogs are here for you," Bonnie Fear, Crisis Coordinator for the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, told WPLG Local 10. "A lot of times they come up, they'll fall to their knees, they'll start crying or they'll smile. We try not to say anything, we let the dog be the bridge for those people to grieve the loss, whatever they're feeling."
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs are working animals and are trained to interact with suffering people of all ages. They were in Connecticut after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Tim Hetzner, president of LCC, told WTVJ that the organization brings "some comfort and peace in the form of golden retrievers."
"Many times, people in traumatizing situations—I can remember Sandy Hook some of the children didn't talk for days until they petted one of our comfort dogs and then told our dogs what happened because they were safe," Hetzner said.
LCC does not charge those they serve. You can help them by donating to their travel expenses here.
This story originally appeared on southernliving.com