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Comfort Dogs Arrive from Several States to Lend a Paw of Comfort to Miami Condo Rescuers


WPLG Local 10

When times get tougher, man’s best friend can often be the cornerstone in keeping our spirits from sinking too far.

Nine out-of-state golden retrievers have been brought in to help first responders cope with the emotional strain of the Miami Surfside condo collapse that occurred a few days ago.

These comforting dogs work in a similar way to therapy dogs; your job right now is to help rescuers cope with the emotional fatigue of the collapse.

“These dogs are here for you,” said Bonnie Fear, Comfort K-9 Dog Ministry at Charities Lutheran Church, according to WPLG Local 10. “Many times they [first responders] go up, they will fall to their knees, they will start crying or smiling. We try not to say anything, we let the dog be the bridge for those people to mourn the loss, no matter what they feel. “

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Miami Dade County Fire Department therapy dogs are already on the job, representing a variety of larger and smaller dog breeds. The retrievers stay at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Cross while they wait to be called to action.

Comfort dogs are strong and well proven therapy for depression, anxiety and other forms of distress.

The hypothesis is that over many years of being rewarded for comforting humans, they developed an increased sensitivity to distress, so that they will become submissive to comfort a crying stranger.

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“We are now well aware that we can potentially [impacted] from stress like PTSD, like suicidal ideation, and that’s what this kit was designed to prevent, ”said Capt. Shawn Campana, a veteran of the Miami Dade Fire Department. WPLG Local 10 in a previous report. “When a human does what we call friendly strokes, which means we put our fingertips into his skin, our body releases oxytocin.”

Oxytocin is a hormone that creates feelings of comfort and happiness, and as much as these dogs can give to first responders, the better.

(LOOK the WPLG Local 10 video below.)

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