Jacob The Dog Is Healing The Traumatized Following The Florida School Shooting

A Community Finds Peace In the Snuggles of a Therapy Dog

By Catalina Barrios

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Credit: Facebook / Jacob Comfort Dog

“When will this stop?” is what I asked myself after seeing the news. It breaks my heart to  know there is so much suffering in the aftermath of the Florida School Massacre. It was Valentine’s Day when 19-year old Nikolas Cruz killed seventeen of his former classmates and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida. The survivors are now are trying to pick up the pieces.


Credit: Facebook / Jacob Comfort Dog

Fortunately, those affected have some extraordinary support in 4-year old Golden Retriever, Jacob.  This special boy is a comfort dog belonging to a group of 130 Golden Retrievers called, “K9 Comfort Dogs.” They are part of a training program run by Lutheran Church Charities that graduates therapy animals to work in high trauma disasters.


Credit: Twitter / @K9ComfortDog

Jacob, plus 18 more doggie members of the K9 Comfort Dogs are currently serving in Parkland, Florida. They are supporting family, friends, and loved ones during this difficult moment in their lives. Tim Hetzner, president and CEO of Lutheran Church Charities, says the dogs are trained to remain calm and soothe people who are grieving or distressed.


Credit: Instagram / @lcck9sasha

These situations are familiar to Jacob. He was in Orlando in 2016, following the Pulse Nightclub Shooting that took the lives of 49 people and injured 58. This courageous Golden Retriever was also at last year’s Las Vegas Massacre Shooting where 58 people lost their lives.


Credit: Facebook / LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs

No matter the disaster, this doggie team is always professional. When the team arrives in a high trauma situation, they stand off to the side in case there are allergies or people who are afraid. The dogs will then only approach when invited.

The Lutheran Church Charities train the Golden Retrievers for 16 to 18 months for this role as therapy dog. Once graduated, each dog is placed with a Lutheran church or school to live within that community and assist the people there. When a high trauma situation or natural disaster occurs, these canine heroes travel to those areas and work with local counsellors.


Credit: Facebook / LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs

When someone pets one of our dogs it lowers their blood pressure and makes them relax. This helps in the healing process of the individual and the community,” adds Hetzner. Therapy dogs can provide comfort for intense grief, but they can also work to calm children with special needs, and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders.


Credit: Facebook / LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs

After Jacob finishes his job in Florida, he will get a nice break to rest and recoup.  Keep up the good work Jacob and friends!