Nine adorable golden retrievers arrived at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers to help both families and first responders process grief.
They came from the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and are providing a very special type of assistance.
Ever since the tragedy 3 weeks ago, rescue works have been deployed from all over the world to help with the recovery at the site.
The nine goldens were deployed to help bring comforting smiles from the workers and families, who have been working tirelessly.
With each day, the death toll continues to rise, and therefore so does their grief. “We’re very concerned about their mental health,” Bonnie Fear, the LCC K-9 crisis response coordinator, told NPR.
During their week long visit to the site, they spent their time at the makeshift memorial locating next to the collapsed tower and also visit the family assistance center nearby.
All 9 of the pups wore a blue vest saying “Please Pet Me,” to help encourage people to interact with the dogs. Some people at the memorial immediately noticed this and began the healing process.
“They’re just either shocked or pleased that we show up in a time of crisis just for the people that are hurting and affected by the crisis,” Fear said.
One of the dogs named Hope was immediately attracted to a teenager named Sarah who was at the family assistance center.
Sarah hugged hope, and it melted everyone who was there to witness’s heart. “They’re just real sweet and pleasant when someone comes up to them,” Fear said.
“Our prayer for [first responders] is that they make it through, they find what they need to mentally process and to know, in their minds, that they found someone’s loved one, they made a difference for the families,” Fear said. “And I hope they hang on to that.”