Inspiring: Golden Retrievers Provide Comfort in Newtown | Reader's Digest

Inspiring: Golden Retrievers Provide Comfort in Newtown

By Caitin O'Connell

Newtown schools are just now reopening after last Friday’s tragedy, and Sandy Hook Elementary will remain closed until next year. Meanwhile, the hurting community has received some canine comfort from a team of golden retrievers sent by Illinois-based Lutheran Church Charities.

Seven dogs were flown into Newtown on Saturday and have since appeared at various memorials for 27 victims of the shooting to support the town’s grieving residents.  The dogs were present during Sunday night’s interfaith service where President Obama delivered his touching address, and they’re available for after-school petting through the end of the week. The dogs have Facebook pages and a Twitter account so children (and adults) can keep in touch once they leave.

More than a cute face: In addition to their adorable appearance, dogs may have the ability to empathize with humans more than any other animal, according to the latest research in the journal Animal Cognition.

Video: The opening of this ABC News piece features a sweet photo montage of the town’s parents and children sharing special moments with the comfort dogs. And they’re comforting for us, too, as we’re privileged to see a smile on a Sandy Hook student’s face for the first time since Friday.

Photo credit: © Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock