Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Comfort Dogs

I love this story.

A pack of sympathetic groups bearing supportive canines spent much of Monday with bereaved Connecticut residents affected by last week’s Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, providing children and adults alike with the cuddly comfort that only a four-legged friend can give.

The “comfort dogs,” or “therapy dogs” as they are sometimes called, were brought in by at least three groups late Sunday to help kids and adults alike cope with last week’s horrific shooting in Newtown that left 20 first graders and six school officials dead.

Among the groups was the Hudson Valley Golden Retrievers Club, whose members spent the afternoon at a makeshift memorial near the town center, where both kids and adults in need of compassion stopped to pet and cuddle the dogs.

Mourning or otherwise devastated children and parents said that petting the dogs gave them relief from their sadness.

“I just love dogs, so whenever I’m around them, they make me feel better,” said 12-year-old Ryan Williams. “When they come over and you pet them you kind of forget about what’s happening for a little bit.”

3 barks and woofs on “Comfort Dogs

  1. I have a friend who participates, with her mutt, in a comfort-dog program here. She and the dog visit hospitalized children on a regular schedule. It’s comforting to the kids and to the dog owner…. maybe to the dog as well. Another friend, now dead, had a young black lab trained as a comfort dog who kept him company as he sank into Alzheimer’s disease. This program is widespread and still little known.

  2. I got a dog a few years ago after I had two break-ins at my house. Ironically, before I got her, I had a talk with my oldest daughter, and said, “I am either going to get a dog, or a gun.” She looked at me and said, “Mom, you better get a dog. Remember you are the mom who wouldn’t even let us have cap guns when we were kids.” So that is when Maddie, who was in doggie foster care, came to live with me. Maddie has become a great friend, and is, indeed a comfort. I am glad the kids have dogs in their lives.

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