Last year’s horrible Boston Marathon bombing killed three people—Lu Lingzi, 23, restaurant manager Krystle Marie Campbell, 29 and Martin William Richard, 8—and injure 260 more. Six golden retriever therapy dogs were brought in one day later to help comfort residents and families in addition to going to hospitals to visit the victims.
These dogs, referred to as “comfort dogs”, are specially trained by Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs of Chicago, IL. The program began with only four dogs after a shooting at Northern Illinois University in 2008. Today, there are roughly 80 certified dogs within ten states in this program. The dogs are schooled from puppyhood; they’re taught to be able to work with various age groups and must be extremely friendly. They’ve gone to assist families and victims after other tragedies such as NJ’s Hurricane Sandy, Texas’ plant explosion, CT’s Sandy Hook School shooting as well as many other catastrophes. The comfort dogs have returned to assist in the city’s healing three times after the Boston bombings.
This year, on-lookers and participants of the Boston Marathon are filled with joy, excitement and hope in addition to fear and sadness. These same six therapy dogs—Addie, Luther, Hanna, Maggie, Isaiah and Ruthie—have come back to the Boston Marathon to console those whose family and friends died or were injured on April 15, 2013 and will be waiting at First Lutheran Church which is only a few blocks past the finish line. Addie and Maggie had just come from Newtown, CT where they’ve been needed since the trauma at the Sandy Hook School; the other dogs came directly from Chicago.
“The Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs president, Tim Hetzner, explained, “They’re a calming presence and allow victims to open up and talk about what happened—which is a critical part of the healing process.”
Posted by Josh Griffith