Dogs have long been understood to have comforting qualities, and so it is no surprise when they are dispatched to scenes of tragedy and heartbreak in order to offer support. This week, more than a dozen comfort dogs have been sent to Orlando in order to provide relief and hope for those affected by the mass shooting. The dogs, which are all Golden Retrievers, will be visiting vigils, hospitals, homes, police stations, and the Lutheran Church's LGBT outreach center in order to offer emotional support and comfort to those that need it most.
Some of the dogs, which include Sasha from South Carolina, Gracie from Illinois, and Phoebe from Texas, have been sent to similar scenes of devastation, including Boston following the bombings, and Sandy Hook after the school shooting.
No words from these dogs are needed – just a shoulder upon which to cry, and soft fur to stroke.
Pets Not Forgotten After Tragedy
In the wake of the tragedy, an entire community has pulled together, and not even the pets of those affected have been forgotten. A charitable organization, The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, recently pledged to foster and rehome as many pets as it could to ensure that they were taken care of.
The nonprofit says: "There may be victims that have pets that need care and shelter. We realize that not every family or friend will be able to care for a beloved dog or cat that may have lost its owner."
While foster families have already come forward, the shelter is in need of support from around the country. You can donate to the Pet Alliance here, while a wish list of items that are desperately needed can be found here.
Our love and prayers go out to those affected by the tragedy, and we stand beside you in your grief.