The group of Golden Retrievers from the Chicago area is provided by Lutheran Church Charities. They arrived in Newton to comfort those who are grieving. “Dogs are nonjudgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” said Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.”
The pastor at Newtown’s Christ the King Lutheran Church, which will be holding several of the funerals for the victims of the tragedy, reached out to the Lutheran Church Charities for help. The dogs and their handlers arrived on Saturday evening and spent Sunday meeting and comforting people in the community. “We met with a lot of first responders…and some of the school families,” said Hetzner.
The group then spent Monday at some of the Newtown schools comforting students. The Golden Retrievers who made the journey to provide unconditional love include Abbi, Barnabas, Chewie, Hannah, Luther, Prince, Ruthie and Shanni.