On Sunday 6 Comfort Dogs arrived in Roseburg, OR to provide support for the community after the shootings at Umpqua Community College last Thursday that left 9 people dead and 9 others wounded.
In case you haven’t heard of them, the Comfort Dogs are group of dogs that interact with people at churches, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.
As part of Lutheran Catholic Charities, the Comfort Dog’s mission is to bring “a calming influence, allowing people to open up their hearts and receive help for what is affecting them.”
The Comfort Dogs have helped people cope with tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings Hurricane Katrina, and the shootings in Marysville. WA last year.
Pastor Samuel Sarkassian of Green Community Church invited the Comfort Dogs and their handlers to Roseburg after the shootings. He and his family live across the street from Umpqua Community College.
And apparently, the dogs’ presence had an immediate effect when they arrived at the Pastor’s home Sunday night. Here’s an excerpt from the Comfort Dogs’ Facebook page:
“There were about 12 children present and when the K-9’s arrived there was an instant sigh of comfort. Some of the kids were in classrooms the day of the shooting. The teams listened to the kids and shared about their comfort dogs.”
On Monday the Comfort Dogs were on Umpqua Community College’s campus as teachers and students came back to retrieve items they left on the day of the shootings. Here’s the description from the Comfort Dogs’ of what happened as they arrived on campus:
“The emotions were so strong words cannot describe. One by one people recalled the accounts of the day while they petted the dogs. Remembering each minute, where they were and what they heard or saw. Heartbreaking, heroic, and lasting memories. The 6 K-9 teams responded with love and prayer which was so appreciated.”
Some of the dogs then went to Roseburg High School and a Roseburg Fire Station. Students at the school “shared their stories of the day, as well as the stories of their friends and family who were directly impacted,” and the first responders “were grateful” the Comfort Dogs visited them. The dogs ended the day visiting 911 dispatchers.
The dogs will be in Roseberg until Thursday. Other dogs will arrive next week when students are back on campus.
Thanks to Lutheran Catholic Charities and the Comfort Dogs for helping the people impacted by the horrific event in Roseburg last Thursday. Their presence made a huge difference for those impacted by the shootings.