The healing power of dogs is unleashed in Orlando

When we first heard of Lutheran Church Charities’ (LCC) heroes, they were doing the work that no human seems capable of doing: They were providing comfort to victims and families of the mass shooting in Sandy Hook, Conn. All they had to do was be the dogs that they are.

When humans show us affection, it’s quite a complicated thing that involves expectations and judgments,” said Rachel Wright, who runs a pet therapy program. “But with a dog, it’s a very uncomplicated, nonchallenging interaction with no consequences. And if you’ve been through a hard time, it’s lovely to have that.”

They’re at it again. In Orlando.

The dogs and their handlers, who operated as volunteers, were dispatched from Illinois, Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas, and several other states.


“Dogs are good listeners,” Tim Hetzner, the president of the Chicago-based organization, tells the Miami Herald.

“Dogs can tell when there’s sadness around,” said Orlando resident Shea Doran. “They just know that their presence is calming. It’s beautiful what they do.”

  • Anna

    Just petting a therapy dog can lower BP by as much as 5-10 points which can be critical for trauma victims with residual anxiety problems in the recovery phase.

    Retrievers of all kinds are wonderful therapy dogs. They have temperaments that are well suited to pet therapy.

    They help family members cope as well, especially young children.

  • jon

    My grandmother was hospitalized last year around this time after falling and breaking her leg. She eventually ended up passing away from complications in August.

    She collected the cards of each of the therapy dogs that came to visit her, made my mom and aunts bring them to her house so they wouldn’t get lost, I believe it was the highlight of her week was when the therapy dogs came to visit.

  • Nightowl

    Labs and retrievers are great for this. We have a yellow lab who’s kept me grounded recovering from recent surgery. My millennial daughter who works as an activities coordinator at a large nursing home brings her yellow lab regularly. It’s always a hit. Even those who are pretty mixed up can relate to a dog if they had one in their family.