News World Dogs sent to Orlando to ease community pain
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Dogs sent to Orlando to ease community pain

A woman cuddles a therapy dog in Orlando.
Getty
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Dogs are a man’s best friend, after all.

A group of comfort dogs has been deployed to Orlando from across the United States to help survivors and others grieving in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting, where 49 people were killed and another 53 injured.

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A group of young women pet a therapy dog near a memorial for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Photo: Getty.
A group of young women pet a therapy dog near a memorial for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Photo: Getty.

In Orlando, the Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) dogs — including Barnabas, Katie, Ruthie, Kye, Gracie, Mahlah, Luther, Jacob and Sasha — have been working with local hospitals and first responders as well as attending vigils.

 

A shot from the Facebook page of a comfort dog group. Photo: Facebook.
A shot from the Facebook page of a comfort dog group. Photo: Facebook.

“Your blood pressure goes down when you pet a dog, you feel more comfortable, and people end up talking,” LCC Comfort Dogs president Tim Hetzner told ABC News America.

“They’re good listeners, they’re non-judgmental, they’re confidential.”

The dogs have also previously been sent to comfort survivors of other major US tragedies, such as the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing.

Mr Hetzner said the comfort dogs go through an intensive training program before being sent out.

The program started with four dogs in August 2008, and has since expanded to more than 100 dogs in 23 states.