Furry friends: Therapy dogs being flown in to comfort Las Vegas shooting victims
These dogs are turning tears into smiles with their power of healing.
For victims of the Las Vegas shooting massacre, it was a night (and days since then) filled with pain and grief that will be etched in their minds for a long time. In one of the deadliest shootings in modern US history, 58 people died and more than 500 were left injured. An event which left many scarred for life, it wouldn't be easy to forget the agony of that fateful night, but with love and affection, relief isn't too far.
This is exactly what the adorable golden retrievers called LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs from the Lutheran Church Charities have set out to accomplish. A group of these therapy dogs has been flown into Las Vegas to help comfort anyone affected by the massacre. These dogs are making rounds to hospitals and hotels, and visiting survivors, families of victims, first responders and others.
These canines are comforting affected people admitted to various hospitals in the area and bestowing them with infinite love and care.
The LCC K-9 therapy dogs arrived in all their furry glory to heal, soothe and console injured people such as those admitted to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center and Las Vegas Convention Center. "The great thing about the dogs, they're unconditional, confidential and safe,” Tim Hetzner, president, and CEO of Lutheran Church Charities told ABC News.
Not only that, the darling mutts abated the grieving hearts of all the attendees who were a part of prayer vigils organized across the length and breadth of the city. Hetzner said that a "key part of the healing process" was getting people to open up about the trauma they have experienced - whether through tears or words. "Dogs have an incredible sense of when somebody is hurting," he said.
To cynics, the gesture may come across as empty and purposeless, however, Hetzner, also the founder of the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministries, begged to differ. In an interview with ABC News, he explained the touch and healing prowess of dogs are immeasurable and can go a long way in emotional mitigation.
He said, "They'll just come and lay themselves into somebody's lap. He went on to elucidate how exactly the healing process works. "The 'key', Hetzer explained, "is for people to cry and for people to start talking about what they're are going through, and it's a key part of the healing process," he said.
With more than 500 people injured and admitted to various medical centers, the helpful dogs are being received with great love wherever they are setting their paws.
Hetzner had started the charity group in 2008 and has since then deployed his 130 dogs to the likes of the Hurricane Harvey disaster zone and to also help during the Sandy Hook and Orlando mass murders. For Tim, it was always about helping others than seeking profits. He explained, "We only go where we are invited and we never charge who we serve. We try to put boots and paws on the ground within 24 hours."
In the wake of the deadliest shooting massacre, we hope that this expectation-free and warm-hearted interaction between dogs and humans can help in providing comfort and love to the hearts of the suffering and grieving.