A team of golden retrievers made an 800-mile journey from the Chicago area to Newtown, Conn., over the weekend to comfort people affected by the shootings Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Lutheran Church Charities sent about 10 of the dogs for residents who want to pet them while they talk or pray with the dog’s handler, said Tim Hetzner, president of the Addison, Ill., organization.
“Dogs are nonjudgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” Hetzner said. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.”
The dogs often visit people in hospitals, nursing homes and parks. Each dog carries a business card with its name, Facebook page, Twitter account and email address.
“The dogs have become the bridge,” said Lynn Buhrke, 66, who is a dog handler for a female golden retriever named Chewie. “People just sit down and talk to you.”
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