K-9 Comfort Dogs Soothe Survivors of the Boston Marathon and other Catastrophic Events .............
Tim Hetzner ........................ ...
Did you know that K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers respond to disasters and crisis situations throughout the United States? Tim Hetzner, President of K-9 Comfort Dogs Lutheran Church Charities, stops by to talk with Marcie and Whistle about the inspirational work these dogs and their handlers selflessly provide to the survivors of some our nation’s most devastating tragedies. Over 70 highly trained golden retrievers and their human handlers are on standby to respond within 24 hours. Most recently these dogs have been working in Boston, Newtown, and West, Texas. You’ll learn all about how these dogs are trained, what types of skills they possess, and the greatest lessons these dogs have to teach us!
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After ministering to those shaken by the bombings along the route of the Boston Marathon, specially trained therapy dogs have been deployed to help those struggling to recover from the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
The dogs and their handlers are members of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog team that is headquartered just outside of Chicago. In Boston and in Texas, Golden Retrievers and their handlers have come alongside victims, families, first responders, public works employees, school children and just folks on the streets who are in need of some unconditional love, non-judgmental ears, and what Tim Hetzner, President of the LCC calls, “furry counseling.
The K-9 Comfort Dog program was started by the LCC after a shooting in 2008 at Northern Illinois University left five people dead. There were only four dogs then. Now there are 67. The dogs and their handlers were in Newtown, Connecticut following the shootings at Sandy Hook and, each day, teams are also out in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other places where they are needed.
Donna speaks with Tim Hetzner, who is leading the team in West, Texas and who was also on the team deployed to Boston. Tim shares stories from the ministry in these cities and recounts how the dogs have been able to break through to help people move toward healing.