Earlier this year, the K-9 Parish Comfort Dogs made headlines when they traveled to Newtown, Conn., to provide comfort to the people affected by the December school shooting.
Today, the dogs have arrived at another sad destination — Boston. But as they did in Newtown, the therapy dogs are helping those who need it most.
“The dogs are here to bring comfort, release and mercy to people who are going through a confusing time in their lives,” Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities, which runs the dog program, told the New York Daily News.
Three dogs came from the group’s headquarters at Lutheran Church Charities in Chicago; two more came from Newtown, where they have been since the massacre.
The dogs — Ruthie, Luther, Isaiah, Maggie, and Addie — are meeting people on the streets around the marathon site, as well as visiting all the Boston hospitals that are treating victims. The comfort dogs plan to stay until Sunday making rounds, but they’ll stay as long as they’re needed.
“When patients see the dogs, they light up and smile. It gives them a chance to release,” said Hetzner. “In many cases they talk to the dogs like they are counselors, big furry counselors.”