Not all trauma can be seen, so it takes a special kind of help in order to heal.
When victims of attacks like the shooting in Las Vegas are recovering, they are often left with many emotional and mental wounds, as well as physical ones, that also need support so they can truly process their experience.
And one great source of comfort is a supportive hug from a golden retriever.
The day after the attack, The LCC-K9 comfort dogs, backed by the Lutheran Church Charities, announced they were headed to Las Vegas to help heal the injured survivors.
The nine trained dogs visited hospitals to provide therapeutic comfort to survivors and attended candlelight vigils for those who did not survive the attack. Therapy dogs are often used as part of mental health services.
The benefits of therapy dogs are extremely well documented. There is also an ongoing program to place therapy dogs with veterans who are struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), known as Pets for Vets.
Tim Hetzner, founder of the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministries, told ABC news, “[The dogs are] unconditional, confidential, and safe. Dogs have an incredible sense of when somebody is hurting. They'll just come and lay themselves into somebody's lap.”
While it’s certainly not a replacement for other mental health services, a furry pup in your lap can certainly give great comfort in times of tragedy.
Let’s hope they got plenty of treats for a job well done.