It’s common knowledge that dogs can bring comfort. Snuggling with a friendly pup can erase – or, at least, mitigate – stress, fear, anger, and sadness.
There are organizations dedicated to this truth, bringing trained “comfort dogs” to hospitals, natural disasters, and other difficult situations. The people in these groups recognize that domesticated dogs instinctively want – and want to provide – trusted companionship. They thrive through connection and the giving and receiving of affection.
One of these groups, the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, was present yesterday morning as children returned to school in Uvalde, Texas. The group brought ten golden retrievers to support the students, educators, and families. The dogs will be in Uvalde for the next few weeks, helping the community through the trauma they’ve experienced.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time the comfort dogs have been to the site of a school shooting. It’s also unlikely that it will be the last. Amidst the finger-pointing and polarization, this is the painful, shameful reality of things today.
In most ways, humans are the smarter species. We train dogs; dogs obey us. Sometimes, however, humans aren’t the smart ones. Sometimes, dogs are more adept at figuring things out. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean stupid.
Fortunately, we humans do have the capacity to learn and improve. I choose to believe that we can, and one day, we will. Until then, here’s to the comfort dogs, their instinctive wisdom, and the help they give to those who need it.