Like the legendary Saint Bernard who travels through the frozen Alps with a cask of warming brandy attached to its collar, a team of golden retrievers set out from Chicago this weekend with a mission: To help comfort people affected by the shootings Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Lutheran Church Charities, who runs the comfort-dog initiative, sent out the team of 10 golden retrievers with the hope that warm hearts and cold noses could offer some comfort to the residents of Newtown, still reeling from the tragedy that claimed the lives of 20 young students and eight adults, including the shooter.
“Dogs are nonjudgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” said Tim Hetzner, president of the Addison, Ill., organization, speaking to the Chicago Tribune. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.” The presence of the dog opens the door for residents who want to pet them while they talk or pray with the dog’s handler.
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