Jacob has traveled the country to help others grieve after mass shootings. He helped survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, traveled to Las Vegas to be with victims of the Route 91 Harvest Music. Now, he's in Parkland, Florida to be with students who lost classmates.
Jacob is a comfort dog.
This is Jacob. In June of 2016, he comforted those affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Four months ago he flew to Vegas to help families of 58 people grieve. Today, he is in Parkland, Florida hugging students who lost classmates yesterday. He is our third 15/10 pic.twitter.com/YlrfUy2nE3— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) February 15, 2018
He is just one of many comfort dogs being enlisted to help grieving parents, students and teachers who lost loved ones in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs is already working hard to match people with dogs. The Rev. Stephen Carretto of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Boca Raton invited the organization to Parkland.
The dogs also attended the vigil for those who lost their lives Thursday night.
“We found that kids do better petting a dog than they do talking to a counselor,” Mike Flaherty, Jacob's handler, told TCPalm. “It calms people down.”
All of the Illinois-based LCC's comfort dogs are golden retrievers. They plan on taking eight to 10 to Parkland.
The four-legged friends have become popular since they were gained national attention after the 2012 tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
"Dogs are non-judgmental, they don't take notes and are comfortable to talk to," LCC president Tim Hetzner told Today.com after the Las Vegas shooting in October. "A key part of healing in any crisis or disaster is to be able to talk about (the trauma), and people find it easier to do that with dogs."
According to ABC News, the Broward County school district will still have grief counselors available throughout the county to help students, families and staff. They will be on-site at Pine Trails Park Recreation Center and Amphitheater, Coral Springs Gymnasium and Coral Springs Center for the Arts.
Broward County will also have a grief counselor hotline available on Friday at 754-321-4357 (HELP). You can also send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourteen students and three teachers were killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday.
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