Comfort dogs help ease pain of mourning community in Newtown

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 19:57

New York: Residents in Newtown, Connecticut, devastated by last week`s school massacre, have received cuddly comfort that only a four-legged friend can give.
The "comfort dogs," or "therapy dogs" as they are sometimes called, were brought in by some groups to help kids and adults alike cope with last Friday`s horrific shooting in Newtown that left 20 first graders and six school officials dead.
Among the groups was the Hudson Valley Golden Retrievers Club, whose members spent the afternoon at a makeshift memorial near the town center, where both kids and adults in need of compassion stopped to pet and cuddle the dogs.

Devastated children and parents said that petting the dogs gave them relief from their sadness.

"I just love dogs, so whenever I`m around them, they make me feel better," said 12-year-old Ryan Williams. "When they come over and you pet them you kind of forget about what`s happening for a little bit."

Jenna Stuart, a school bus driver from Newtown, said the dogs were an enormous help to her four-year-old daughter, Kylie, who attends preschool at the Children`s Adventure Center in front of Sandy Hook Elementary and lost friends in the tragedy.

"I like the dogs because they made me happy," said Kylie, after petting one on the head. "The dogs love me."

Some residents, who were not directly affected by the tragedy, found peace in simply bringing their own dogs to help others, New York Daily News reported.

Sandy Hook resident Ann Mari Cioffi, a member of the Hudson Valley Golden Retrievers Club, brought her dog, Libby, 5, to comfort victims, at a memorial in the center of town.

"They`re just gentle, caring, kind and sweet. Cioffi said of the dogs. "They just seem to sense it. They just sense when somebody`s sad."

"It`s something dog lovers knows. Spending time with your pooch can make you feel better," a local resident said.

20-year-old Adam Lanza, after killing his mother at home, opened fire in the Sandy Hook Elementary School and gunned down 20 children as well as six adults.


First Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 19:56

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