Firefighters Need Comfort

September 10, 2020

Anyone who has ever known a dog knows that they have the uncanny ability to find those who need them the most, and the firefighters battling the raging blazes across the state have long been in great need of the comfort a dog can provide.

Seeing this need, the handlers for the dogs of the Lutheran Church Charities’ (LCC) K-9 Ministry Team loaded up and headed this way as soon as they got the invite.

“The LCC K-9 Ministries embrace the unique, calming nature and skills of AKC purebred golden retrievers to interact with people of all ages and circumstances,” said Marilyn Hunter, a caregiver with LCC and handler for comfort dog Micah. “The comfort dogs serve every day in the communities in which they are placed. When invited, they are also deployed in times of disaster and crisis to bring comfort to all those affected, including first responders and the volunteers who serve them.”

The LCC works through churches to help individuals and families. Headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, LCC serves nationally and internationally and has locations in Elk Grove, Napa and Yuba City. LCC never charges those they serve.

During the dogs’ visit, emergency personnel currently based out of the Alameda County Fairgrounds spent some time with the furry visitors, playing and finding a way to help them deal with the stress of the continuing fire crisis.

“Whether it is first responders or volunteers, everyone plays an important role in dealing with a crisis,” said Tracy Hein, the emergency preparedness manager for the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department. “With that can come long hours and stressful situations, which can be physically and emotionally draining. The responders need to be able to disengage for their own well-being and to continue to be effective in their response. Comfort dogs have proven over and over again to be helpful in being able to disengage and de-stress.”

Comfort dogs Micah, Aaron and Reuben were very busy pups during their visit. Micah visited the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton to provide comfort to the SCU firefighters and support staff, Aaron traveled between the Pleasanton and Calistoga Cal Fire Base Camps serving the firefighters and support staff who are battling the LNU Lightning Complex Fire and the Santa Clarita Unit (SCU) Lightning Complex fires. Reuben joined Micah and Aaron recently.

“It was an honor to be there as the firefighters were going out and those coming back in after being out for 24 hours,” said Hunter. “There is a village of people that support the firefighters, such as the food service, laundry, security, facilities, training and accommodations, and we are happy to be a part of that support group and to support the other groups serving the firefighters. These brave heroes are hot, exhausted and missing their families and pets. Most just grabbed on to Aaron and hugged him for a long while. Sometimes, even tears surfaced as they told us about their dogs at home and how they miss their families.” As the dogs made their rounds, many, if not most, of the personnel petted the dogs and talked to their handlers. Some even got on the floor and played with the dogs, and there were lots of smiles to go around. “How can you not smile when beautiful dogs walk, and you know they are there to support you?” asked Hein. “Watching the volunteers’ interactions and smiles I knew they, too, were gaining from the visit.”

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    K9s For Warriors

    January 7, 2021

    K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides military veterans suffering from severe PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma with service animals, recently changed the name of its main campus to honor its leader and founder Shari Duval. Duval began K9s For Warriors in 2011 after her son returned from two tours in […]

    Read more

    More Recent News