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8 Comfort dogs deployed to Uvalde in wake of horrific shooting

SERVICE DOGS

Shutterstock | LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs/Facebook

Cerith Gardiner - published on 05/27/22

The Lutheran Church swiftly reacted to the massacre by sending support to the victims, survivors, and first responders in the form of "man's best friend."

After the devastating shootings in Uvalde, Texas, people have understandably been offering their support and prayers to the victims and their families. However, the Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) stepped up with a different type of support: some furry friends to offer comfort.

Rev. Mark Tews of Trinity Lutheran Church in Uvalde, along with the president of the Texas District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Rev. Michael Newma and their Education Executive Dr. Bill Hinz, reached out to their LCC K-9 division to bring comfort dogs to the community.

Within 24 hours, eight dogs from the LCC crisis response unit were en route to Uvalde to offer valuable assistance to the families, survivors, and the first responders, as the K-9 division shared on their Facebook page.

Their post outlines the different parts of the country that the dogs traveled from, and gives the names of these four-legged heroes (who incidentally each have their own Facebook page if you’d like to discover a little more about them): Elijah, Miriam, Abner, Triton, Gabriel, Joy, Cubby, and Devorah.

The post also states a little more about their mission:

“LCC’s K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Ministry never charge those we serve as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need. We know that comfort is needed to help this shocked and devastated community and the first responders who serve them.”

The post ends with a thoughtful verse from Scripture: “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

This help can come in a myriad of ways, including the comfort offered by a gorgeous, loving canine.

While you might wonder what is the exact role of these dogs in terrible situations like the one in Uvalde, well, these lovable animals are actually trained to bring affection and comfort. As the American Kennel Club points out, being around dogs can have a positive increase the levels of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin in our brains.

And as John Hunt, co-founder of Crisis Response Canines, who travels to areas affected by mass shootings and disasters explained:

“We can’t change what happened, but we can certainly prompt a few smiles and conversations from those who have cried their hearts out and not wanted to interact with anyone until now.”

Some of the prerequisites of these dogs who bring comfort in moments of crisis is that they must be unafraid of strangers; calm but outgoing; trained and socialized; not disturbed by crowds and loud noises, such as crying or screaming; and able to cope with children and adults in distress.

If you’d like to learn more about these wonderful animals, take a look at the webinar below:

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