A group of Golden Retrievers was flown to Las Vegas to help those recovering from last Sunday’s shooting.
The Lutheran Church Charities sent the LCC K-9 Comfort dogs to help survivors, families of victims and others who are victims of suspected shooter Stephen Paddock. Paddock opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. He killed 58 people and injured close to 500 more.
The victims of Sunday’s massacre came from 14 different states and two Canadian provinces. Over half of them, 33, came from California.
The dogs are meant to be a way to help the victims cope with the tragedy.
“The key is for people to cry and for people to start talking about what they’re are going through, and it’s a key part of the healing process,” said Tim Hetzner, president and CEO of Lutheran Church Charities and founder of the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministries. “The great thing about the dogs, they’re unconditional, confidential and safe.”
“Dogs have an incredible sense of when somebody is hurting,” Hetzner added. “They’ll just come and lay themselves into somebody’s lap.”
Since the tragic events of Oct. 1, the dogs have visited schools, area hospitals, first responders, and even comforted the families of victims at the Las Vegas Convention Center
Here’s the story of one of those visits, a 41-year-old man who may not be able to ever walk again.
The comfort dogs were flown in from around the country to Las Vegas to give love and affection to those suffering.
The organization was started in August 2009 with just four dogs. Hetzner says they now have more than 130 dogs in 23 states. The team has responded to disasters like Hurricane Harvey and shootings such as Sandy Hook, Orlando, and Dallas.
The K-9s have attended several candlelight vigils already in Las Vegas.
Hetzner says his team only goes where they are needed and if they were invited to do so.