This feature was on Maggie and Addie, two Comfort Dogs stationed in Connecticut. The sister dogs were placed in Lutheran Churches in this community after the Newtown shootings disrupted life as the community knew it just over a year ago. The dogs were first invited to go in and help the students, parents and other members of the public to deal with the tragedy. Now the dogs are permanently stationed close and do regular visits to help maintain the equilibrium that was destroyed in December of 2012.
Comfort Dogs are actually normal dogs. They are all Golden Retrievers that pose as working dogs.
From the time they are born, the select few are chosen based on their abilities. Then they are trained for over a year; learning everything that other working/service dogs learn. Since these dogs do a special job of servicing communities, they are highly trained socially as well. That is the way that they are different from other service dogs. Where other service dogs ordinarily serve one person, these specialized dogs serve the masses.
Another way that Comfort Dogs differ from regular service dogs is that they have multiple handlers. It is customary for a dog to have one handler, but the Comfort Dogs have multiple handlers.
Comfort Dogs provide complete, unconditional, non-judgmental love; pure love! It is their consistent presence that people look forward to! These dogs bring smiles and brighten moods even when the mood is dour!
Being a Comfort Dog handler is quite chaotic, but in a good way. First you have to make certain to maintain the highest training levels available for the dogs in order to maintain the high level of control required by these dogs. Second you have to pay attention to the dog’s schedule.
The dogs are so busy that each and every one has its own scheduler. This person maintains not only the schedule, but other important features for the dog.
Each dog has its own Facebook page and its own collector/business cards to hand out to those they visit with. These dogs are like executives that are furrier and cuddlier!
If you are ever in need of some comfort, the Comfort Dogs are right around the corner ready to provide encouragement and unbounding joy. All you have to do is ask these ‘good’ dogs for their love and support!