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Finding the Paw-sitive Amid Disaster in Surfside

August 25, 2021

The tragic building collapse in Surfside, Florida, brought heartache to the loved ones of 98 individuals. In the wake of the tragedy, Lutheran Church Charities in Northbrook, Illinois, deployed its team of comfort dogs to help the victims’ families cope during their time of mourning.

Launched in 2008, the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry is a national human-care ministry embracing the unique, calming nature and skills of purebred golden retrievers. LCC K-9 comfort dogs are working animals, trained to interact with people of all ages in need. From Northeastern communities hit by Superstorm Sandy to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, LCC’s comfort dogs are a welcome distraction for victims of the unthinkable and their loved ones.

Following the collapse in Surfside, a local Lutheran pastor reached out to LCC and the ministry answered the call with nine golden retrievers in tow. “Lutheran Church Charities uses only ‘goldens’ because they love people, they’re very smart, and people like to approach them,” said LCC’s Cheryl Skelly in an interview with the Beloit Daily News. “They’re a people dog. They just want to be with people.” Along with the natural comfort the retrievers provide, LCC dog handlers handed out plush toys to rescuers to deliver to their children and an opportunity to pray for anyone interested—a multi-pronged approach to helping all those in need.

Lutheran Church Charities is a member of Lutheran Services in America, a network of 300 health and human service organizations located in more than 1,400 communities across the United States. Together, the network makes a difference in the lives of one in 50 Americans every year.

Learn more about Lutheran Church Charities.

By Christopher Findlay, Senior Marketing Manager