Comfort from a Furry Friend

Lutheran church comfort dogs spread mercy and compassion

by Mary Boland

Few things bring more comfort and joy than a tail-wagging, shaggy golden retriever. Known as some of the most loyal, gentle, and kind dogs around, the golden is an ideal choice to train as a service dog. The typical image of a service dog is one that is trained to help someone who has a disability, whether they are blind, deaf, or wheelchair bound. But service dogs, or comfort dogs, can be an invaluable asset to a community or individual who suffers with grief, depression, or trauma. To harness the power these dogs have, one Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) ministry, K-9 Comfort Dogs, has developed a nationwide ministry of trained dogs and their handlers who volunteer their time to visit those most in need of them.

The mission of the comfort dogs ministry is to spread mercy and compassion through the unique skills of dogs. Each dog is a certified service dog, meaning they have had extensive training in interacting with all kinds of people in a variety of environments from hospital rooms to churches to the community park. After the tragic shootings in Orlando, volunteers and their dogs made their rounds to hospitalized victims, law enforcement, and witnesses. The LCC’s dogs are available upon request for visits to groups, communities, or health care settings with their trained handler. Additionally, LCC dogs are also available as permanent members of your church or community ministry. A purchase of an LCC comfort dog comes with Affiliate Member Ministry for the church or organization, as well as caregiver and handler training for involved staff. Coaching and further support is also available and ongoing. The dog arrives trained and ready to work for your ministry. To have such a compassionate, loving member of your ministry provides a valuable resource to those your ministry serves.


How Comfort Dogs Can Help 

  1. Comfort individuals and families suffering from grief.
  2. Ease the stress and trauma of those affected by disaster.
  3. Create a calm atmosphere during counseling sessions.
  4. Relieve loneliness or depression.
  5. Facilitate conversation and motivate withdrawn patients or older adults.
  6. Calm hyperactive children and provide stimulating interaction.

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