Gracie is a five-year-old Golden Retriever comfort dog whose mission is to ease the pain of Pulse Night Club mass shooting survivors. The affectionate dog lives in Davenport, Iowa, but he was sent to Orlando, Florida, to carry out a special task. Providing comfort to people in distress was a job that Gracie had been performing for years. She worked with Lutheran Church Charities and trained to bring joy and compassion to humans who experienced emotional pain.
Before the mission, Gracie regularly worked in churches, nursing homes, hospitals, and schools. She had already helped many victims and families recover, especially from traumatic events like Yarnell Hill Fire in Prescott, Arizona, and Sandy Hook shootings, which took place in Newton, Connecticut. Apart from comforting mass shooting survivors, Gracie would also visit churches and hospitals in Orlando. Her gentle and calm presence helped the survivors and their families find hope.
Gracie possessed loyalty, strength, and unconditional love that could bring sunshine to the survivors’ darkest days. Her fellow comfort dogs also brought hope and peace to those who lived in fear because of the tragic incident. Tim Hitzner, president of the Lutheran Church Charities, understood the devastating situation that survivors were facing. While they couldn’t easily open up to their friends or families, petting comfort dogs could help them to relax.
Gracie joined 20 comfort dogs in helping people find a sense of calm and peace. Apart from the role they play in tragedies like Pulse Night Club mass shooting, comfort dogs like Gracie are also used in courtrooms. Their presence provided relief to sexual assault victims.
The positive effects of comfort dogs had been backed by multiple studies that showed how their presence could lower blood pressure, reduce pain, and even increase endorphins. Gracie’s beautiful soul is one of the reasons she has handled the job as a comfort dog very well. Her positivity influenced survivors in more ways than one.
I am deploying to Orlando, Florida tomorrow morning with two of my handlers, Scott and Sandy. We are flying out of…
Image Source: Gracie Comfort Dog via Facebook