Anyone who has a dog or a cat knows that they are a constant source of love and understanding. The stress of a long day at work is eased when I sit on the couch with Sadie just stroking her soft fur. The soothing purr of a cat can chase away anxiety. In times of great sorrow, special therapy Comfort Dogs and kittens are providing much needed relief.
The unspeakable grief that befell Sandy Hook, Connecticut this past week and rippled throughout the rest of the country and the world has caused tremendous heartache, despair, and losses that will never be forgotten. The outpouring of sympathy and compassion from millions of people to those affected directly have no doubt been a source of comfort. In the midst of this great sorrow, children and adults alike are finding comfort on four legs and slowly starting to smile again at the sight of a wagging tail or a comforting purr.
Two organizations instrumental in promoting the healing of grief through animals to the Sandy Hook residents are the Lutheran Group Charities and Kitten Associates located in Sandy Hook.
Nine Golden Retrievers made the 900 mile trip from Chicago to Conneciticut on Sunday. These specially tranied therapy dogs are a source of comfort to those suffering in the aftermath of tragedy. Comfort dogs get petted and talked to and hugged. They listen and do what dogs do best even without any training…they give unconditional love and acceptance. The Goldens were all wearing bright vests that said…”Pet me..I’m Friendly.” Comfort dog’s were first used in 2008 when a gunman killed 5 people at Northern Illinois University. There are now 60 such specially trained dogs in six states.
A friend of mine operates a non-descript home based cat rescue located in Sandy Hook. Robin Olson rescues cats from diverse situations and finds home for them. She always wants to do more for her “kids” and for everyone in general and crushed by the horriffic tragedy in her town, she found a way how. Knowing first hand the joy a kitten brings into your life, Rodin has offered her rescue kittens to comfort the children affected by the Sandy Hook violence.. Kittens for Kids is her contribution to ease the anxiety and sorrow felt by the children in Newtown. Children over the age of four are allowed to visit with the kittens at Kitten Associates and at the end of their visit, they receive a plush toy kitten to take home with them. Children under the age of four, are invited to stop by and receive the plush kitten in lieu of visiting with the real kittens.
Dogs and cats are a great blessing with their love that knows no conditions and their spirits that lift us up. A lick on the face, the wag of a tail, the comfort of a furry body next to us…priceless consolation. Learn more about either of these organizations: