Therapy Dogs Came To Orlando With Their Unconditional True Love
19 Jun 2016
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After the deadliest shooting in American history, it has been very difficult for people in Orlando to recover from such an incident.
As the old saying goes, dogs are a man's best friend. They very truly are. On the Monday following the Orlando massacre, 12 golden retrievers arrived in the Florida city.
They had come to offer comfort to some of the victims of the attack, the families of those killed and the emergency medical workers, as well as anyone else in the city in need of some canine affection! How sweet is that.
Tim Hetzner is the president of a donation-based organization in Illinois that deploys a "sea of fur" - also known as K-9 Comfort Dogs - to areas struck by crisis or natural disaster.
Image source: nytimes
"With a golden, you don't feel alone, and you know that you're loved," he told CBS News. "That helps people at the time to cope and to talk, and to see that there's hope. There's light."
“We’ve had a lot of people here that start petting the dog, and they break out crying,” he said.
These furry friends, according to Hetzner, have inviting qualities that allow victims of a tragedy to feel safe: they listen without judgment, respect confidentiality, and, perhaps most importantly, they don't take notes.
The dogs and their 20 handlers have visited hospitals and churches and attended vigils and memorial services.
In Orlando, they have helped to provide a temporary calm during a traumatic week. Some may ask why golden retrievers, but Hetzner explained that they possess an innate desire to love indiscriminately.
Image Source: cbsnews
"They're good inside and outside," he said. "They're smart dogs. And, they're temperament is that they're just lovers. Goldens love to please people."
There are more than 120 dogs in the K-9 Comfort Dog unit, in 23 states. All of them have received extensive training similar to that of a service dog, Mr. Hetzner said, and have been taught to provide comfort without barking, jumping or getting agitated.
Though the K-9 comfort dogs cannot undo dark memories of the past, they are able to lessen the shadow for, at least, an instant, whether that's with a quick lick or a snugly embrace.
Image Source: cbsnews
Heaven sent us these lovely angels in the form of dogs. They have four legs, but million hearts within them. They have two eyes, but infinite love in them. They have one nose, but they can sniff out people's troubles within a few moments. Respect to the brave dogs and their wonderful handlers.