Comfort dogs offer support to community in Parkland, Florida

Dogs bring a lot of joy to the lives of their owners, but there are some dogs that also touch the heart of total strangers in the form of therapy.

A group in Florida decided to send the unique gift of love to those hurting in Parkland, Florida.

They are the team loaded up and ready to go.

Hannah, Tobias, Ruthie, and Jacob are all ready to serve yet another community in need.

The dogs are part of a fleet of comfort dogs now sent to Parkland, Florida.

"Therapy dogs have been onsite at our communications center to help our dispatchers during this difficult time," tweeted the Broward County Sheriff's Office.

Phil and Brenda Birden are volunteers with the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry.

"Today we started visiting elementary schools and we plan to do this all week," said Brenda Birden.

The group says the goal is to have boots and paws on the ground within 24 hours of a tragedy.

One of the dogs, a three-year-old golden retriever named Jacob, is already there. Jacob comes from Northbrook, Illinois.

Last October, Jacob attended a prayer vigil with children last October in Las Vegas.

Jacob also went to Orlando after the nightclub shooting in 2016.

Some of the comfort dogs even made the trip to Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut.

"You can't pet a dog without smiling so even if just for a moment you can smile. In the midst of this awfulness. That's a wonderful thing," said Sharon Flaherty, Jacob's dog handler.
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