You may remember this LovePets article that we shared at the beginning of the summer, regarding the comfort dogs sent to Orlando in the wake of the horrific shooting that took place in a nightclub. Chosen for their quiet disposition and comforting nature, these dogs will sit with the victims of crime, or their loved ones, in an act of devotion and healing.
Today, we are reporting on the role of comfort dogs once again, but this time under much more shocking circumstances. On August 13th, a random shooting incident in Joplin, Missouri, left five people and two Golden Retrievers needing medical attention. The suspect, who was pursued by police offers at around 5am, opened fire on a small group leaving the Immanuel Lutheran Church, hitting the group's driver and two passengers, as well as two others. Also caught in the crossfire were comfort dogs Jackson and Louie. While Jackson sustained an ear injury, Louie was hit in the neck. Louie underwent surgery to remove the slug and is well on the road to recovery.
According to news reports, Jackson and Louie had been deployed to Joplin to help in the aftermath of an E-5 tornado that tore through the city and killed 150 people. Lutheran Church Charities President Tim Hetzner explained to Yahoo News: "We're used to deploying our dogs to respond to these senseless shootings." Following the shooting, six additional comfort dogs named Chewie, Luther, Jeremiah, Olive, Jessy, and Rufus, have been deployed to Joplin alongside their handlers. Their presence and the comfort it brings will no doubt be welcomed.
The 26-year-old suspect named Tom Mourning has now been charged with multiple counts of armed criminal action, assault, and unlawful use of a weapon. Police issued a statement to say that there had been no apparent motive for the shooting.
We're sending our love to Louie and Jackson and those who were caught up in this horrible incident. We hope you all make a full and speedy recovery.