Golden retrievers flock to Orlando, comfort nightclub shooting victims

Posted at 11:09 AM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 11:09:39-04

Therapy dogs are coming to the rescue in Orlando.

Lutheran Church Charities has sent trained golden retrievers to the area from all over the country to help comfort survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

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"This is the best thing everyone can do, just get together. ... Oh my god. We're getting love from everywhere," said Luna Mendez, a friend of a victim.

From the Boston Marathon bombings to the Sandy Hook shooting, these dogs have just about seen it all.

"[It] still gets me because you feel with the people that you serve. ... You feel comfortable, and you can talk. Many times, people will talk to a dog before they talk to a person," Tim Hetzner of K-9 Comfort Dogs told WFTV.

One of the dogs — Phoebe from Fort Worth, Texas — is a regular a local hospital there.

"You forget about what's wrong. It's like ... you just ... your whole attention just turns to them," Texas Health Fort Worth patient Ricky Moore told WFAA.

The Chicago-based charity says it doesn't charge for the trips to comfort people but instead relies on donations to make it all possible.

The nightclub shooting killed 49 people and injured more than 50 others. It is considered the deadliest mass shooting in American history.