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The recent tragedy where five Dallas police officers lost their lives took a toll on the American psyche. It is horrifying to think that those who give so much to serve and protect would be targeted by a sniper. Seven other officers and two civilians were also injured in the attack that took place at a protest. The shooting shook the nation, and we all mourn for the losses.
As the Dallas police force is devastated by the tragedy and the loss of officers who had worked closely with other task members in the force, special reinforcement was brought in to help them grieve. Six comfort animals were deployed to Dallas to help comfort the friends, family, and coworkers of the fallen. The dogs are Golden Retrievers who travelled all the way from an Illinois-based charity. They will now be able to lend a helping paw thanks to The Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dogs who often do this kind of work. They operate in 23 states and employ a force of specially trained dogs who are able to remain calm in tough times.
Comfort animals have also been used recently to help survivors of the Pulse shooting in Orlando and were used after the Boston Marathon bombings as well as other public tragedies.
The dogs were made available for service after a funeral for some of the officers took place on Wednesday. The dogs provide both physical and emotional comfort for those who are going through the complex grieving process. The results are proving to be very promising as “the dogs help them talk about it,” said president The Lutheran Church Charities, Tim Hetzner, “they’re just lovin’ on the dogs.”
Therapy animals may become an anchor for people who are experiencing extreme grief, offering a stable and supportive presence for them to focus on. Moments spent petting a dog and looking in their gentle eyes can distract someone from their duress. The tough police officers may try to stay strong, but loss effects everyone. The dogs are aiding them to understand and cope with their stress by being continuously loving. People are reacting very well to the dog’s presence, even showing each other their favorite pictures of the handsome working dogs. “That’s the beauty of the dogs,” Hetzner stated, “they have a sixth sense when somebody is hurting.”
When things begin to calm down and return to normal after the tragedy, the dogs will return home, but for the next little while, they will stay by the side of the Dallas Police force to boost morale and aid in the emotional healing process. Even the bravest members of society can benefit from having support, and these hard-working comfort animals will continue to help those who need them. The loss of these officers will not be forgotten, as they are survived by those who loved them and worked beside them. Our hearts go out to their families, may they rest in peace.
Source: ABC News