It is hard to beat the comfort that comes from a golden retriever’s cuddles in a time of heartache.
That is why LCC-K9 Comfort Dogs, backed by the Lutheran Church Charities, sent 17 trained therapy dogs to visit survivors and attend vigils after the massacre in Las Vegas.
Aaron, a Napa-based golden retriever, went to Las Vegas with his handler, Ken Arnold, just one day after the shooting, according to the Napa Valley Register. The pair met with victims and the families of those who had been shot.
“We’re not counselors,” Arnold told the Register. “We’re giving them an outlet right now. That’s all we do – we just listen.”
On the first night, Arnold said Aaron met someone who will likely never walk again. Another person Arnold comforted had to be taken off of life support.
“You’re grateful that you can be the goodness against such an evil act,” Arnold said. “At the same time … you can only take so much of it yourself.”
After four days in Las Vegas, the handlers debriefed and talk about what they experienced, Christy Kramer of St. John’s Luterhan Church told the Register.
“The dogs as well as the handlers absorb a lot of the stressors and anxieties that they’re facing when they’re there,” Kramer said. It’s difficult, she told the Register, but it’s a “blessing” to be able to do so.