WAUKESHA, Wis. (WBAY) – The K-9 Comfort Dog Lutheran Church comfort dog ministry has been deployed to Waukesha in the wake of the Christmas parade tragedy.
Seven golden retrievers, including five from Wisconsin, offered their services at a vigil in Cutler Park on Monday night.
“One thing they bring is the spirit of compassion, and they bring the spirit of presence,” said Gary Kilvinger, a Brookfield dog handler.
LCC is a national non-profit organization that tries to bring peace to the most difficult times in people’s lives.
“Dogs have been deployed in tragedies nationwide. There are over 100 dogs across the country that are part of this program, ”said Kilvinger.
Candace, Charity, Mary, Rhoda and Zoey are based in Wisconsin. Bekah and Tobias are from Illinois. All have undergone 2,000 hours of training which allows them to relieve people in seconds.
“Dogs bring – at this point – two or maybe five minutes of time when they’re with the dog, that they are (people) really relaxed and that they feel less anxiety than before. start with the dogs, ”Kilvinger said.
Comfort dogs are also there to listen when it may be difficult for someone to share their feelings with others.
“The dog hears what he’s saying, and it could be a number of things that help him figure out what’s in his head and in his heart,” Kilvinger said.
The LCC attends events to which they are invited and offers its assistance free of charge.
“As we look forward to next week, we’ll be in some schools, and maybe we’ll also be in the police department and other events where we can do this stuff,” Kilvinger said.
The dogs will also help the first responders who helped victims and witnesses to the Christmas parade.
“Dogs are just doing their job. That’s what they’re trained to do, to bring that calm to people’s lives, ”said Kilvinger.
The LCC Hearts of Mercy and Compassion Ministry sent crosses to the vigil on which people can write messages of condolence. The crosses have been moved to the Waukesha Memorial Site where one will be set up for those killed in the tragedy.
To learn more about the LCC K9 Comfort Dog Ministry, click here.
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