Home Magazine

Comfort Dog Visits Sandy Hook

By David13676 @dogspired

Comfort dog visits Sandy HookJust days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, a local 4-year-old golden retriever went to Newtown, Conn., to comfort grief-stricken schoolchildren and adults.

Shami, a comfort dog, belongs to St. John Lutheran Church in west suburban Darien.

“A woman came up to me (in Newtown), started to hug me and told me that the dogs were the only reason her child wanted to go to school,” said volunteer dog handler Toni Bazon-Forsberg of Darien. “I think about that and it makes me cry.”

Shami was one of 10 comfort dogs in Newtown. The dogs, part of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog program, come from churches around the country and are often deployed to help people cope after tragedies.

The dogs also provide therapy to those in nursing homes, hospitals and schools with special-needs students. It takes about 10 months and costs thousands of dollars to train the dogs, church officials said.

Bazon-Forsberg, 52, said the dogs were present at memorial services, schools and even at counseling facilities in Newtown.

“People connected with them right away,” said Bazon-Forsberg. “They didn’t want the dogs to leave.”

The dogs just recently left Newtown, but some may be relocated there, according to Lutheran Church Charities. Shami spent about 17 days during two separate trips to Newtown. She is currently resting at Bazon-Forsberg’s home.

Bazon-Forsberg’s daughter, Jolene, 29, went back to Newtown with another comfort dog, Addie, about a month after the shootings Dec. 14. Jolene said she took Addie to visit classrooms at the new Sandy Hook school.

“The teachers would request the dogs,” said Jolene. “The dogs would lift their spirits up right away.”

Comfort dog visits Sandy Hook
Dave Bottorff, a pastor at the Darien church, takes Shami to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in the area.

“There is a group of women who often sit outside to greet Shami,” said Bottorff, 60. “Shami is the highlight of the day and week for some of them.”

He said Shami also makes for a good conversation piece because the dog often reminds people of an old pet or even a family member.

Jolene said special-needs students benefit from comfort dogs. She remembers one occasion when Shami helped a child develop communication skills.

“There is one little boy who rarely talks, but one day he started to talk to Shami,” said Jolene. “It was really incredible.”

~ Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune

Tags: comfort dogs, dogs helping children, Sandy Hook, tragedy dog

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Healthy Cauliflower Pizza!

    Healthy Cauliflower Pizza!

    ‘Can pizza ever be healthy?‘, you may be wondering, as I also did once upon a time. But being a normal human being, I absolutely adore the occasional pleasure o... Read more

    8 hours, 8 minutes ago by   Fitnessontoast
  • How Utilities Are Trying to Slow Down Rooftop Solar

    Utilities Trying Slow Down Rooftop Solar

    GR: Utility companies don’t want you to save money by adopting solar power. Utilities that should earn their public status by working for the common good,... Read more

    8 hours, 19 minutes ago by   Garry Rogers
  • 8 Leadership Lapses Every Business Owner Must Avoid

    Leadership Lapses Every Business Owner Must Avoid

    Even entrepreneurs who have built many startups, or sold their last one for millions of dollars, know they make occasional people leadership mistakes. Read more

    9 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Martin Zwilling
  • What is the Underlying Cause of Addiction?

    What Underlying Cause Addiction?

    Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you and that you’re having an awesome summer. We’ve had a couple of weeks of hot, sticky weather and it’s the type of... Read more

    9 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Lisaorchard
  • Massive Cards

    Massive Cards

    This last year I had less and less time to draw as my research project advanced. It’s sad, but I always knew that it would be difficult to combine science and... Read more

    9 hours, 40 minutes ago by   Matteofarinella
  • Photo Favourite 39 - Swimwear Edition

    Photo Favourite Swimwear Edition

    Summer is often a hard time for plus size people, and swimwear is often a big part of that anxiety. Here i have 13 gorgeous ladies showing you that no matter... Read more

    9 hours, 47 minutes ago by   Boo_brown
  • Odeon: The Gallery

    Odeon: Gallery

    I did this at the Metrocentre cinema for Dunkirk in IMAX.Cool Tables! The staff are fantastic in the bar area and you are given a number with the screen you... Read more

    11 hours, 7 minutes ago by   Caz