Therapy Dogs Comfort Survivors Of Las Vegas Shooting
The tragedy of the Las Vegas shooting after suspected shooter Stephen Paddock opened fire during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500 left many in grief, shock and nowhere to put their emotions. It now seems that therapy dogs have become the norm comforting the people where there is massive trauma, grief and shock. These amazing pups have the ability to make you feel just a little better for a moment and maybe forget for a second or two, the overwhelming hurt, horror and shock you are experiencing.
A group of therapy dogs were immediately flown to Las Vegas to comfort survivors from Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs, affiliated with Lutheran Church Charities, along with many other therapy dog groups were there to help survivors, families of victims, first responders and others.
“The key is for people to cry and for people to start talking about what they’re are going through and it’s a key part of the healing process,” said Tim Hetzner, president and founder of the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministries. “The great thing about the dogs, they’re unconditional, confidential and safe.”
“Dogs have an incredible sense of when somebody is hurting,” he added. “They’ll just come and lay themselves into somebody’s lap.”
Since the Vegas tragedy on Oct. 1, the dogs have visited schools, first responders and area hospitals. They also comforted families at the Las Vegas Convention Center when they waited to hear news of their loved ones, Hetzner said. They went to the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and the emergency call center to help relieve stress of hotel staff and 911 dispatchers. “We only go where we are invited and we never charge who we serve,” Hetzner added. “We try to put boots and paws on the ground within 24 hours.”
The Making of a Therapy Dog
After reading this beautiful story, I began to wonder what exactly does it take to be a comfort therapy dog and why they work so well. After doing a little research, this is why these amazing animals are so good at what they do and how they get to be one.
The definition of a therapy dog is to interact with people to offer feelings of well-being or encourage rehabilitation through actual contact. Animals always provide a nonjudgmental presence. They bring normalcy by just wagging their tale or laying their head on your lap under stressful situations where you must endure abnormal emotions.
To be a good therapy animal, the dog must be friendly to all kinds of people, and quiet and calm in a variety of environments. They enjoy being touched by strangers, especially children and know how to take treats nicely.
Older dogs usually make the best therapy animals, as they are less excitable and know basic obedience but some start training as puppies. Dogs of all sizes, both mutts and purebreds can make great therapy animals. Smaller dogs are great at snuggling on a bed or lap. Larger dogs do well with encompassing the person by laying their head on them and allowing a hug. It usually takes about a year of training and be certified by a TDI (Therapy Dog International) evaluator.
Susan Z’s Conclusion:
It has long been known by dog lovers the unconditional compassion they are capable of. Sometimes in an overwhelming crisis, you don’t need to be talked to…you just need to be unobjectively loved. And that is what these beautiful comfort therapy dogs do best. Thank God, someone figured that out.
Two energies bonding in love for each other. I think the card says it all.
Eight of Cups: Inverted (Upside Down)
Disappointment and leaving an unhappy situation behind. Since pulled inverted, I believe it shows the effect the dogs have on the people who come in contact with them. Leaving sadness behind for just a moment in time.
Knight of Cups:
Romantic loving energy and a dreamer. This card may represent the person who initiated the idea of using dogs for comfort therapy. Loving dogs and knowing how they are capable of transferring that unconditional love to a person in pain.
Susan Z Rich is an emotional addiction counselor, spiritual intuitive and holistic therapist. She counsels others to see life in a more positive way and teaches personal accountability for life choices. She is also the author of several children’s books and Soul Windows…Secrets From The Divine. (life cycles) Learn more at her website: www.szrwhitewings.com