Ten of the Comfort Dogs have been in Newtown, Connecticut in the past week helping people cope with last Friday's elementary school massacre, according to USA Today
|Comfort dogs at work in Newtown, Conn.|
The program started in 2008 after a shooting at an Illinois college. The program has grown so that there are now 60 Comfort Dogs, all friendly golden retreivers, in six states.
The beauty of these gentle dogs is they offer gentle loving and happiness without ever adding judgement, political opinions, prejudice or general dislike into the equation. They really do become a refuge.
I especially like how most individual dogs in the group have Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and are available via email so that people who've met them can keep in touch.
The Facebook pages don't have much verbiage from the dogs, of course, but the pages offer a place for people to thank them, and many people have done so.
And the dogs forward news about their activities, which is posted on the Comfort Dogs' web site.
Here's a dispatch from a Comfort Dog named Jackson, reporting from a Joplin, Missouri school after a terrible tornado there in 2011.
"In Joplin, I continue to bring love to those who have been affected by the tornado. If a student is having a bad day, they come to the office and talk to me or visit with Mr. Schamber (Principal) while I comfort them."
"More and more adults keep coming by too! While the adults are petting me, they usually stay a little while talking to Mr. Schamber about all the challenges they have been facing. Many times Mr. Schamber will lead us in a prayer before they leave the office. My favorite part about coming to Martin Luther School every day is that I can hang out with the kids in the classrooms or on the playground where we play a lot."
As an aside, this dog is double after my heart because one of my own dogs, a happy, loving cocker spaniel, is named Jackson. And he does make me smile a lot, so this definitely works.