Therapy Dogs Traveled To Las Vegas From All Across The Country

"It just helps the healing process, really."

Following the tragic shooting in Las Vegas earlier this week, inspiring stories have emerged of heroes and helpers who have made a difference for victims and their families. As it turns out, some of them just happen to have paws and a furry tail.

In recent months, we've seen dogs help firefighters search Grenfell Tower in London. We've also seen a dog warn his family of a house fire and ensure they all made it out safely. Now in Las Vegas, a group of very special dogs is providing another much-needed service by comforting survivors and others affected by the recent shooting.

The day after the shooting, therapy dogs flew to Las Vegas from around the country. LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs, which is associated with Lutheran Church Charities, shared a map on social media showing which states the dogs, all of which are golden retrievers, came from.

According to ABC News, the organization was started in 2008 and has more than 130 dogs in 23 states. These pups have responded to such events as the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016, and more recently Hurricane Harvey. The services are provided free of charge, and the organization accepts donations for travel expenses.

The dogs have been visiting survivors in local hospitals, including Sunrise Hospital, where two dogs, named Lois and Mahla, paid a visit to Michael Caster, who was shot and has not regained feeling in his legs. "It just helps the healing process, really," Caster told Inside Edition of his time with the dogs. "Dogs are just so loyal."

He added to Buzzfeed, "You kind of look to the dog for some clarity. Your mind's totally on what you need to do going forward and the tragic nature of this event. And they bring the dog there and they're so innocent."

The dogs have also attended candlelight vigils, visited schools and first responders, and stayed with families waiting to hear news of their loved ones at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Tim Hetzner, president and CEO of Lutheran Church Charities, told ABC News that the dogs would also meet with 911 dispatchers and hotel staff at the Cosmopolitan. 

"Dogs have an incredible sense of when somebody is hurting. They'll just come and lay themselves into somebody's lap," Hertzner said, adding that they are "unconditional, confidential and safe."

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper (above) also got to spend time with the dogs when he ran into them outside a Las Vegas hospital. He shared on Instagram that he first met the pups from this organization in Newtown, Conn., after the Sandy Hook shooting. 

"People relax, their heart rate goes down," Hetzner told Buzzfeed of the benefit therapy dogs can have in dealing with trauma. "Through that process they start talking about what's happened, and talking about what's happened is a critical part of healing."

(H/T: Mashable)


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