Chicagotribune – A team of golden retrievers made an 800-mile journey from the Chicago area to Newtown, Conn., Saturday evening to comfort those affected by the recent school massacre. Lutheran Church Charities deployed about 10 of the canines for residents who want to pet them while they talk or pray with the dog’s handler, said Tim Hetzner, president of the Addison-based organization.“Dogs are non-judgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” Hetzner said. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.” Each dog carries a business card with its name, Facebook page, twitter account and email so those that meet the canine can keep in touch The dogs’ first stop Sunday in Newtown was Christ the King Lutheran Church, which is holding two funerals this week for two children who were slain during the shooting, Hetzner said.“You could tell which ones …were really struggling with their grief because they were quiet,” Hetzner said. “They would pet the dog, and they would just be quiet.” The initiative has grown from a handful of dogs in the Chicago area to 60 dogs in six different states, he said. Since then, the dogs have traveled across the nation to comfort people in the aftermath of major tragedies such as, Hurricane Sandy, and the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo.On Monday, the dogs plan to be with Sandy Hook students for after-school activities, Hetzner said.

What do you do when some madman shoots up an elementary school? When the entire Nation is mourning and second guessing humanity? When the Mayan apocalypse is around the corner? When the Patriots lose? When evil looks like it’s about to triumph over good? What do you do? The only thing you can do at a moment like this. Send in a bunch of Golden Retrievers to comfort those who are suffering. Dogs that are specifically trained to find sad people, look them in the eyes and get pet. No they can’t change the past, but at least they can help people cope with the present. The unspoken bond between humans and dogs once again on full display. Meanwhile the West Baptist Church continues to recruit cats to join their movement of hate and vitriol.