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'Comfort dogs' arrive in Newtown to help grieving families

By Kristen Porricelli,

Lutheran Church Charities' K-9 Comfort Dogs of Addison, Ill. and the Hudson Valley Golden Retrievers Club arrived this weekend to comfort children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut.

"A parent will say, 'Thank you so much, I saw my child smile – and they haven't smiled for days.' The kids are telling the dogs about their own pets, they're [helping] them laugh, they're helping some of that burden drop off a bit. And the dogs just lay there, saying the more the merrier," director of operations for Lutheran Church Charities' K-9 Comfort Dogs, Vita Johnston said, as quoted by People.

The dogs are trained not to bark and to be canine good citizens. The handlers and the dogs plan to stay in Newtown through Saturday. During that time they will visit schools, vigils and go wherever they are needed to offer comfort and relieve stress.

"I just love dogs, so whenever I'm around them, they make me feel better. When they come over and you pet them you kind of forget about what's happening for a little bit," 12-year-old Ryan Williams was quoted by the New York Daily News.

The children as well as the adults are benefiting from the comforting canines.

"We're finding the adults are holding it in and then they see the dogs and you see them visibly start to release that tension," Johnston revealed.

Massachusetts- based K-9's For Kids Pediatric Therapy Dogs also traveled to Newtown to help ease the community's pain as best they can.

 
 

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