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A team of specially trained dogs just journeyed 800 miles to help grieving children and adults at funerals and other gatherings this week in Newtown, Conn. The dogs all come from the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry at Lutheran Church Charities, based near Chicago. The dogs were present yesterday at Newtown High School when President Obama spoke about the recent massacre.
"Dogs are non-judgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone," Tim Hetzner, president of the organization, told the Chicago Tribune. "It creates the atmosphere for people to share." People and kids often pet the dogs while they talk or pray with the handlers. Sometimes those who are grieving prefer just to spend quiet time with the dogs, receiving comfort from their assuring presence. The dogs are deployed during national disasters. But they also handle daily matters where their soothing help is needed, such as at hospitals and nursing homes. Each dog carries a business card listing its name, Facebook page, twitter account and e-mail address so that those who connect can stay in touch.