Off the Leash Off the Leash

Dogs bring comfort to Connecticut

K-9 team travels to Newtown.

By Vetstreet Dec 17, 2012 4:04PM

A team of 10 golden retrievers who are trained to provide comfort to those in need, traveled with their handlers from the Chicago area this weekend to Newtown, Conn., where a gunman tragically killed 20 children and six adults on Friday.

Photo: CNN via YouTube // Comfort dogs visit children in Newtown, Conn.The dogs are bred and trained by Lutheran Church Charities. They’re placed in schools and churches and visit hospitals and nursing homes — and are often deployed to disaster scenes.

“Dogs are nonjudgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” said Tim Hetzner, the organization’s president. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.”

CNN’s Don Lemon interviewed Hetzner on Sunday night at a makeshift memorial in Newtown.

“I haven’t really seen anyone smiling out here and these dogs showed up and the kids started smiling,” Lemon said.

— Read it at AP via the Boston Herald

Bing: How to help the community of Newtown.

Photo: CNN via YouTube // Comfort dogs visit children in Newtown, Conn.

More from Vetstreet:
A day in the life of Gracie the Grade School comfort dog
13 largest dog breeds that are towering and commanding
5 once-popular dog breeds that are sadly losing popularity
How do I keep the cat out of the Christmas tree?
14 dog breeds you’ve never heard of (but soon will)

Subscribe to Off the Leash

Dec 19, 2012 3:26AM

Pastafazool,  you talk about the christian school would have immediate comfort with prayer. Really?  As a Christian and a parent Give me a Dog for comfort, that dog would be my prayer.  So sad for you, not understanding Gods Love Angels--Dogs.

Dec 19, 2012 2:25AM

Goldens are wonderful pets. Go to a good breeder, folks. Check their lineage. I've had two golden retrievers and I speak from experience.

Dec 19, 2012 2:16AM

Even during the darkest of days the company of a dog can provide great comfort.

Dec 19, 2012 12:54AM
Awww...I know how much comfort and joy my Golden Retriever, Cooper provides me with daily.   I'm so glad there is a team of them putting smiles on the faces of so many who have only know tears since the tragedy. 
Dec 19, 2012 12:14AM
How sweet. Glad the story was short and I only saw the photo of the dogs, otherwise I would of started crying.
Dec 19, 2012 12:13AM
Way to go, Lutheran Church Charities; comforting broken hearts is what a church should be all about.
Dec 18, 2012 11:50PM
God looked down on the earth and said " If it wasn't for dogs I would have blown the whole place up a long time ago."
Dec 18, 2012 11:25PM
When I read this story, I could barely see thru the tears. I am glad to see there are still some decent people left in this world. God Bless the Lutheran Church Charities, the handlers and those beautiful retrievers!
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

pics, advice, info and stories for pet lovers

  • Puppy friends (Photo: Courtesy of Mikkel Becker)

    Can dogs have best friends?

    The strong bonds that dogs can form are undeniable.

  • Angry cat (Photo: Thinkstock)

    10 things your pet won’t tell you

    Think you know your pet’s every unspoken wish? Think again. Your pet is unlikely to be capable of communicating her wants and needs in ways you might assume she would. Even those of you most in touch with your pets' feelings are likely missing a few cues here and there.

  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (Photo: Thinkstock)

    10 dog breeds that love and hate the water

    The Chesapeake Bay Retriever made both our readers' and veterinary professionals' lists of breeds that love the water.

  • 7 signs your dog owns you

    7 signs your dog owns you

    You might proudly call yourself a dog owner, pet parent or canine guardian, but let’s be real: Your dog owns you. You might be laughing now, but think about it — you've surrendered the best seat on the sofa to him, you plan your entire weekend around his trips to the dog park, and you take him to the groomer more often than you get your own hair cut. And let's not forget who's in every photo on your Facebook and Instagram feeds. Sound familiar? We thought so. But in case you still think you're in charge, here are seven classic signs that your dog is the one calling the shots.

  • 9 unusual dog breeds

    9 unusual dog breeds the vet is seeing more of

    One of the best things about being a veterinarian is all the different dogs I get to meet. Of course, I love the Labs and Beagles and Boxers and Poodles, not to mention those crazy Canine Cocktails, or what my parents used to call Heinz 57s. They are among the more popular dogs out there, and I see a lot of them. In fact, it used to be that it was rare to see anything else. Here are nine dog breeds I sometimes see now that I didn’t see in the past.

  • Shaving dog (Credit: Thinkstock)

    10 dog breeds that shed the most and least

    We asked veterinary experts and readers which breeds they think and if it is OK to shave longhaired pets in the summer.

  • Maine Coon

    12 kid-friendly cat breeds

    If you're searching for a breed that may enjoy the company of a kid, we have some great suggestions for you.

  • Labrador Retriever

    9 large dogs that can be good for families

    When searching for the right dog to add to your family, your first instinct might be to bring home a tiny little thing that your kids can cradle in their laps. But we're here to remind you that the best fit for you may be a large dog breed.

  • Akita

    11 stubborn dog breeds

    Many breeds were developed to do work that required them to act independently. Those dogs tend to be smart, but as family pets, they may need more leadership and training than others. Ultimately, though, they’re worth it. Here are 11 dog breeds that tend to have independent personalities.

  • Chimera cat with interesting facial colors

    13 pets with cool coats and markings

    Many of us here at Vetstreet are fascinated by pets who have unique coats and cool shapes hidden in their markings. So we asked our Facebook fans to share pictures of animals that have interesting coloration, and you did not disappoint. From mustachioed cats to a horse of a different color, here are our 13 favorite photos of pets with cool coats.

  • Jack Russell Terrier

    Dog breeds most likely to chew something up and land in the ER

    We surveyed 284 veterinary professionals (including vets, veterinary technicians and office staff) to see which breeds they felt were most likely to chew something they shouldn't and wind up in the veterinary emergency room, and we've listed the top five answers below. Do you agree with their opinions? Which breeds would you add to the list?

  • ​Simone Pievani, Getty Images // ​Simone Pievani, Getty Images (​Simone Pievani, Getty Images)

    Help your pet brave the Fourth of July fireworks

    This Fourth of July, Americans will celebrate with the sights and sounds of fireworks. While we love the pyrotechnics, it's important to remember that our patriotic midsummer spectacular is no holiday for many of our pets.

buzzing now on msn living
family videos
editor's pick