Willie Nelson once lamented in a song, “These are difficult times, remember the good times.”
But no matter how much people want a reason to smile, it is still hard to remember the good times in the wake of a tragedy as devastating as the one that happened in Las Vegas. Last October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock shot a security guard six minutes before he fired hundreds of rifle rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was later found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Overall, the terrorist took the lives of 58 innocent people, making this the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. To this day, Paddock’s motive remains a mystery.
The incident has left the entire country reeling from the senseless act of violence. For the survivors, the trauma after seeing the carnage was enough to leave a permanent scar. So in light of these dark times, even the slightest bit of comfort can go a long way.
Golden Retriever Therapy Dogs Comfort Victims of Las Vegas Shooting
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and breeds—and these canines are here to prove that true.
Nineteen trained golden retrievers traveled all the way to Las Vegas this week to provide comfort for everyone affected by the attack that left 58 people dead and more than 500 wounded. The team of second responders, along with their 30 handlers, are part of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Unit. They are veterans who are trained to soothe victims of natural disasters and mass attacks.
In the past, the canine caregivers have given survivors solace after the Sandy Hook shooting. They’ve recently traveled to parts of Texas and Florida to comfort victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
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In an interview with ABC News, Tim Hetzner, the founder of the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministries, said,
“The dogs are unconditional, confidential, and safe. Dogs have an incredible sense of when somebody is hurting. They’ll just come and lay themselves into somebody’s lap.”
Aside from disaster areas, therapy dogs are trained canines that provide affection and comfort to people in retirement homes, hospitals, hospices, and to people with mental disorders like anxiety and autism.
Certain colleges and universities in the United States bring in therapy dogs to their campus to help students de-stress. Torrey Trust even coined the term “therapy fluffies” for their therapy dog foundation. Similar organizations are known to exist worldwide.
Though the road to recovery is a long and difficult one, it is no doubt a wonderful sight to see members of another species reach out to the survivors of the tragedy that left Las Vegas in tears.