Lutheran Church Charities in the U.S.A bring great comfort through golden retrievers to places that have faced great disasters, including recently in Uvalde, Texas.
According to Religion Unplugged, Lutheran Church Charities’ K-9 ministry deploys its teams of cute and cuddly comfort dogs to relieve stress and get people talking about their trauma.
There are a 130 burebred golden retrievers in 27 states. They have three training facilities in Illinois for dogs and 800 volunteer handlers, each of whom receives 20 hours of training.
The dogs receive 2,000 hours of training so that they are sensitive to commands from their handlers as well as respecting the private space of individuals, like people who are hospitalized. They have been trained to handle touch and affection from strangers without reacting negatively as well.
"The dogs are a powerful way to carry out LCC’s mission of sharing the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need," says Tim Hetzner, LCC’s president and CEO.
The K-9 group were recently deployed to comfort the families in Uvalde, Texas after 21 people died, including 19 children, because of a school shooting.
The dogs have been brought to other tragedies such as the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting, in Orlando, Florida, back in 2016. They went to the wildfires in California in 2020, as well as many other places.
When they’re not traveling to disaster sites, the dogs serve in LCC’s Military Ministry to service members, veterans, and their families, and its Police Ministry for officers and their families.