Tag: CBC News

Providing much-needed comfort

Our most favourite furry comforter!

Those of you that read my republication of Deborah’s article yesterday, Six ways dogs help us heal, would undoubtedly have picked up that one of those six ways was Dogs give us physical comforting. They snuggle and lie in our laps.

If we ever needed proof of that quality of comforting then an article from the Care2 site offers such evidence in spades.


Comfort Dogs Provide Furry Solace to People in Orlando

3180697.largeBy: Laura Goldman June 14, 2016
About Laura    Follow Laura at @lauragoldman

They were deployed to Newtown. They were deployed to Boston. And now comfort dogs have made their way from around the U.S. to Orlando, Fla., to comfort those affected by yet another terror attack — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history that occurred on June 12 at the Pulse, an LGBT nightclub.

The dogs are available for anyone who needs a hug or a furry neck to absorb their tears. They wear vests with the irresistible invitation, “I’m Friendly. Please pet me.”

“We are reaching out to anyone that has been affected by this directly or indirectly,” Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) K-9 Comfort Dogs, told WLS.

About a dozen dogs and 20 handlers from the nonprofit are currently in Orlando.

“Your blood pressure goes down when you pet a dog, you feel more comfortable and people end up talking,” Hetzner said. “They’re good listeners, they’re non-judgmental, they’re confidential.”

The dogs will be in Orlando for at least a week, providing comfort to survivors, first responders and Pulse employees. They’ve visited hospitals (many are trained to climb into hospital beds and calmly lie there) and counseling centers, and joined more than 10,000 people at a June 13 candlelight vigil for the victims.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs, based in Northbrook, Ill., deploys trained therapy dogs from around the country to areas where tragedies and disasters have occurred, as well as to local churches, hospitals and nursing homes. The nonprofit was created in 2008 after five students were killed at Northern Illinois University. To help ease students’ stress, handlers brought their therapy dogs to the campus, and the effort proved to be very successful.

When it started out, the nonprofit had four comfort dogs. Eight years later, it has more than 100 dogs in 23 states. The dogs are all golden retrievers — Hetzner told the Huffington Post this is because they’re a lovable breed by nature. “Also, because of their fur, they leave a little of themselves with everyone they meet,” he said.

Starting when they’re 8 months old, the comfort dogs-to-be and their handlers go through 12 to 14 months of intensive training before being deployed to areas that need them. Their travel expenses are covered by donations.

“Our dogs have to be able to relate with all age groups and stay calm in all circumstances,” Hetzner told the Huffington Post.

One of the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs who was flown to Orlando is 5-year-old Gracie of Davenport, Iowa. She’s a comfort-providing veteran, having previously consoled people after the Sandy Hook massacre and in the aftermath of devastating tornadoes in Illinois and Oklahoma.

Gracie is known as one of the sweetest of all the LCC comfort dogs, Jane Marsh-Johnson, one of her handlers, told BuzzFeed News. “She’s always got a big smile.”

Therapy dogs are also helping people in Orlando cope. Zoey and her owner, Marc Gelbke, have been in town since Monday, comforting visitors to the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida. Zoey will also visit a church and hospital, and is available by request, free of charge, through the Loving Paws of Clermont to anyone in the Orlando area who needs a hug.

“We encourage those [in Orlando] who are grieving to sit down on the floor and pet dogs like Gracie,” Marsh-Johnson said.

“The dogs do more for those suffering than human beings can do.”

Care2 stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Orlando, and against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Tell the FDA to fully lift the ban on gay men donating blood, and tell Congress to ban assault weapons immediately. Follow related coverage on the Orlando shooting here.


Over on YouTube there are many videos of these wonderful dogs in action. I selected a CBC News segment to share with you.

“Furry rugs with heartbeats.” Perfect!

Loving, caring dogs!

A lovely reminder of our fabulous dogs.

Before moving on to the story, can I just say that the link to this report was emailed to me by a follower of Learning from Dogs. It underlines something that I had no idea about when I first started up this blog in July 2009. The wonderful sense of community that develops between a blogger and his or her readers and followers.

So many of you that interact with this place feel like long-established friends, and are treasured.

Marg, thank you for sending me the link to the following. It’s a wonderful item that appeared on the Australian outlet of The Huffington Post.


Dog Escapes Cage To Comfort Rescue Puppies During Their First Night In Kennel

“We’ve never really seen it before, where a dog sneaks out to some puppies and is so excited to see them.”

Kimberly Yam, Associate Good News Editor, The Huffington Post

This concerned dog just wanted to make sure some young pups would be OK in a new place.

Maggie the dog was staying at the Barker’s Pet Motel and Grooming in Alberta, Canada, when she was caught on a surveillance camera sitting outside a kennel that held two 9-week-old rescue puppies named Hannah and Kari last week.

Barkers Pet Motel and Grooming last Saturday
Barkers Pet Motel and Grooming
last Saturday

The canine sneaked out of her own kennel to comfort them on their first night there, and after pet motel owner Sandy Aldred let Maggie into the pups’ cage, the older dog spent the entire night cuddling with the two new guys on the block, according to ABC News.

“We’ve never really seen it before, where a dog sneaks out to some puppies and is so excited to see them.” Aldred’s son, Alex, who also works at the pet motel, told ABC News.

Anna Cain, office manager at the pet motel, told The Huffington Post that Maggie, who is a former shelter dog herself, had been staying there while her owners were on vacation. The puppies were dropped off at the facility after they were rescued by Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society.

Barkers Pet Motel and Grooming last Saturday
Barkers Pet Motel and Grooming
last Saturday

The thoughtful dog, who recently had puppies of her own that were adopted out by a humane society, likely heard Hannah and Kari crying, according to a Facebook post from the motel. So Maggie squeezed her way out of her kennel after pushing aside a water bowl built into her door. She then went right to the pups’ cage.

“She paid them a lot of attention and you could see her little tail wagging. And she’d do the little bow down to them and poke them through the chainlink gate of their room,” Aldred told CBC News. “She just decided that was where she was going to stay until we came to get her.”

When Aldred returned to the kennels and let Maggie into the puppies’ cage, she supervised to see if all the dogs would get along. And of course they did.

“They were just all so happy to be together,” Aldred told CBC. “She was nuzzling them really gently and nudging them, and then she laid down and let them cuddle with her.”

The trio stayed together and were even found snuggling the next morning, ABC News reported. While Maggie’s actions are sweet, it’s not uncommon for dogs who have had puppies, to act compassionately like she did.

“It’s innate in a lot of female dogs, especially if they’ve had a litter in the past. It’s just in their nature,” Deanna Thompson of AARCS told ABC News. “We’ve seen it in a lot of dogs even with male dogs, when they hear other puppies crying they want to console them and make sure they’re feeling safe.”

Maggie and the pups have parted ways unfortunately as her owners have returned from their trip. There are pending adoption applications for both puppies, but for the time being, the pair are in the motel, Cain said.


Other readers who know and love dogs will endorse my claim that it is not just crying puppies that are consoled by adult dogs; we humans as well experience a fair degree of compassion from our dogs!

Lovely story!