In the wake of a deadly mass shooting last week at a Florida high school, survivors and loved ones of the 17 victims killed have been left to cope with their grief.
As Fox News reported, some outside groups are hoping to lend some support to that process through several programs targeted to their uniquely painful experience.
Lutheran Church Charities is one such organization, as its CEO explained.
Tim Hetzner said 18 or more therapeutic dogs, along with 33 handlers, have been dispatched to Broward County since a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14.
He said the animals are “good listeners and have a unique way of knowing when people are hurting.”
All dogs used by the charity undergo at least 16 months of training, qualifying as a service animal, before they are sent out on assignments.
The program utilizes only Golden Retrievers, which Hetzner described as “lovers by nature.”
In the aftermath of the mass shooting, the organization announced on social media that it would be sending dogs to Parkland and included a link for those interested in donating to the charity.
— LCC K9 Comfort Dogs (@K9ComfortDogs) February 16, 2018
Others in the community and around the world are pitching in to help however they can, including an official online fundraiser established by the Broward Education Foundation.
As of this writing, and eight days after the fundraiser was published, nearly 30,000 individuals have contributed a combined $2.1 million of a $2.5 million goal.
“Donations raised here will be used to provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific shooting,” the GoFundMe profile states.
[Featured image: LCC K9 Comfort Dogs/Facebook]