As the people of Orlando try to rebuild their lives after last week’s tragic shooting at Pulse, the community has pulled together to help those affected. The Center, an organization that promotes and empowers the GLBT Community and its allies through information, education, advocacy and support, has been administrating a tragedy response program for victim relief. The organization has helped arrange counselling, funeral services, healthcare assistance, and the many other practical considerations that are required to help people through times like this, supported in part by a crowdfunding campaign.
Thanks to Lutheran Church Charities (LCC), The Center has been able to provide visitors with an extra service: therapy dogs. LCC’s team of comfort dogs and handlers travels across the U.S. helping people after tragedies like the shootings at Pulse and Sandy Hook.
If you’ve seen service dogs out and about, you’re probably used to staying at a distance — service dogs are working, providing valuable and necessary assistance to their owners. Comfort dogs are a little different. They’re brought into difficult situations to help people who are unwell, upset, grieving, or frightened, and they can be pet, played with or hugged. They go to hospitals and retirement homes to bring cheer to their residents. They go to courthouses to help victims through their testimony. They can be brought to funerals or funeral homes to help the bereaved — anywhere someone might benefit from the presence of a warm, furry companion to put them at ease.
LCC is one of many organizations that trains therapy dogs and handlers. If you want to volunteer your time to a program like this, find out if your dog would be a good fit. If so, you could bring a lot of comfort to people who are badly in need of the joy a furry friend can provide.