Golden Retriever 'Comfort Dogs' Bring Hope Following Orlando Shooting

Twelve golden retrievers from The Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dogs organization flew into Orlando, Florida, Monday, to bring hope and a shoulder to cry on for those affected by this weekend's mass shooting that left nearly 50 dead, Inside Edition reports.

The pups will be on hand for cuddling, petting, and hugs, something that Lutheran Church Charities President Tim Hetzener said "brings calmness to people" and "allows them to smile for a little bit and to talk."

He noted that some people find it easier to talk to a dog than they do to another human, and that the dogs are, "confidential, they don't take notes and they listen well."

The comfort dogs were invited to come by Trinity Lutheran Church in Orlando and have already visited counseling centers, vigils, and gatherings to minister to those shocked by the U.S.'s worst mass shooting in history.

The canine crew have previously brought their special furry love to Newton, Connecticut, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and to Boston to comfort survivors of the horrific Boston Marathon bombings.


Hetzener said the dogs will remain in Orlando visiting survivors in the hospital, some of the first responders and employees of the Pulse nightclub where the shooting took place, saying, "This has been very hard for them."

After visiting with people on Monday, Hetzener said, "The reality of what happened hit a lot of people today. It's very emotional ... But we're a Christian charity. This is what we do."