After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, many may have received comfort from a golden retriever named Jacob. People also received comfort from him following the Las Vegas shooting and the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. His purpose is to bring comfort to those who have been devastated by tragedy. Often, you can find Jacob lying on the ground while a victim pets him. Other times, you will see him standing to receive a pet. Numerous research studies show that pet therapy helps a person recover after a disaster has impacted their lives.
This four-year-old dog is part of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Team. The group operates two special training facilities. One is in northern Illinois and the other is in central Nebraska. The dogs are first placed with a family who chooses them based on their ability to be calm. They live with the family for a few months before being put into full-time training. Then, each dog is assigned to a Lutheran church or school.
When the dogs are not involved in a major event, they still bring comfort to those in the community where they live. They may visit people in nursing homes or they may visit people who have been displaced by a fire. Dogs have been brought to scenes where officers have lost their lives and have even been used during hurricanes. Other times, the work is much more fun such as attending proms for special needs adults. Bringing comfort to people are the dogs and handlers only purpose. When the dogs are working, they wear a vest that says ‘pet me.’ Otherwise, they live in the home of their handler.
Lutheran Church Charities would like to expand the team that they have available. Therefore, they are looking for special individuals who will begin the training. People who are interested can contact either the facility near Chicago or the one in Grand Island, Nebraska, for more details.