Disaster volunteers come in all shapes and sizes – and species. A group of comfort dogs from the Chicago area are among the helpers traveling to the tornado-devastated Oklahoma.
The highly trained service dogs from a local ministry, their handlers and supplies, are heading to Oklahoma City to help soothe people traumatized by the deadly storm.
“When people pet a dog they relax and it helps people process whatever crisis it is that they are going through,” Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Charities, said.
These dogs and others like them have been dispatched to areas where tragedies have occurred – places like the Sandy Hook School shooting or the Boston Marathon bombing — where people may have suffered psychological shock from calamities that muddle the brain because the events are so horrible and difficult to process.
“Our handlers are trained like the dogs to listen and show mercy and compassion to people,” Hetzner said.