In the wake of the Orlando shooting, grieving victims and their families have found comfort in a bunch of unlikely volunteers: dogs.
Within hours of the deadliest mass shooting in US history, which left 49 dead and 53 injured, the canines were already on their way to Florida.
The 11 therapy dogs, all golden retrievers, came from states like Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
They previously served in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and the Boston marathon bombing.
The group’s response came after Chicago-based Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) received an invitation by a church located near where the attack happened. According to LCC’s president Tim Hetzener, the pets help people cope and open up about traumatising experiences.
“Dogs can help,” he told The Huffington Post. “They’re like a furry counsel. They’re not judgmental and they’re good listeners, which is good because talking is an important part of healing process. It allows people to process what happened.”
So far, they’ve helped over 300 people including the wounded, the nightclub staff, the families, and the first responders. “Our dogs have to be able to relate with all age groups and stay calm in all circumstances,” Hetzner added.
If you want to help out, a GoFundMe page has been set up for those affected by the tragedy. As of writing, it has already become the most successful page ever on the site, raising $4,788,124.
Via The Dodo