Entries in K-9 (2)


Comfort Dogs Treated to Some Comforts of Their Own

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In the midst of tragedy, it's often the simplest acts that make the biggest difference.

Take what happened in Newtown, Conn., in December after a school shooting took the lives of 26 students and teachers, leaving the town rattled in a horror that few could have imagined.

As residents remained shocked, a group of golden retrievers showed up from Chicago to bring comfort to school children and townspeople alike.

The dogs, part of the Lutheran Church Charities' K-9 Comfort Dogs Ministry, gave residents a glimmer of comfort and a second of joy they could not get elsewhere, just by wagging their tails and being petted.

"The dogs really helped us," one high school student from Newtown said.

Wearing their signature "Please Pet Me" blue signs, the 60-plus army of golden retrievers flock to communities like Newtown where lives have been upended by tragic events. The dogs have touched people from Newtown to Joplin, Mo., the site of a devastating tornado. Most recently, the dogs trekked to Boston in the wake of the marathon bombings.

"I got to know the dogs a few days after the bombing," one bombing victim in Boston said.  "They are incredible.  They feel what you feel."

"My house got destroyed by the tornado and once I saw them, they made me really happy," a tornado survivor in Joplin said.  "Dogs are my best friends and they just really comforted me."

There's scientific evidence that dogs have a healing power around patients and people who've experienced traumatic events, said Dr. Emma Raizman, a pediatrician at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.

Being around dogs helps decrease patients' stress by prompting the release of oxytocin, which is the hormone that bonds mothers to babies. Studies have shown that patients who are around dogs have increased levels of dopamine - the "happy" neurotransmitter that helps relieve depression - as well as endorphins and adrenaline.

The man behind the K-9 Comfort Dogs Ministry, Tim Hetzner, says he has witnessed this firsthand.
"The comments we get all the time are thank you for bringing some joy," Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities, said.  "And then we will see kids come up and smile."

The K-9 Comfort Dogs and their hero owners got a chance to smile themselves Wednesday when they were honored on ABC’s Good Morning America  as part of GMA's "You're Not Dreaming!" series.  The dogs, joined on GMA by Hetzner and their handler, Jen Marr, were surprised with a package of spa and grooming treats for the dogs and spa gift certificates from Bliss for their owners.

In addition, Hertz stepped up to help the ministry with one of its biggest expenses, transportation to get the dogs from crisis to crisis.  Hertz announced on GMA they are providing K-9 Comfort Dogs Ministry with a free van for one year.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Man Bites K-9's Ear in North Carolina Police Chase

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(WILMINGTON, N.C.) -- A police dog in North Carolina nearly sacrificed its ear when a fugitive bit it as he tried to wrestle his way loose from authorities over the weekend.

At 4:28 p.m. Sunday, police officers in Wilmington, N.C., got a tip on the whereabouts of Keith Glaspie, 22, who had eluded an arrest for a nonfatal shooting last Friday.  When police spotted him on Henry Street in Wilmington, he fled on foot, police said.

A 2-year-old police dog K-9 named Maxx soon caught up with Glaspie, and in the ensuing struggle, Glaspie tore into Maxx’s ear with his teeth, severing it in two and requiring more than 15 stitches.  In exchange, Maxx bit Glaspie, who was treated for wounds to his thigh at New Hanover Regional Medical Center before police took him to jail.

“When [Glaspie] was biting the dog, it was something we haven’t seen,” Cpl. David Pellegrino told ABC News affiliate WWAY in Wilmington.  “Yes, our dogs do get assaulted, but no one has ever tried to cannibalize one of our animals before.”

The altercation on Sunday followed a string of legal troubles for Glaspie, who is being held on a $1,025 million bond.

Glaspie allegedly opened fire on an occupied vehicle while riding by on a bicycle last Friday.  And on June 5, Wilmington police attempted to pull Glaspie over when he jumped out of his car and escaped to a nearby house.  A relative walked him out after police officers surrounded the house.  Police then booked Glaspie in the New Hanover County jail, but he was released after posting a $5,000 bond, police said.

Glaspie now faces charges of felony assault on a law enforcement animal, resisting arrest, assault on a law enforcement officer, property damage and possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance, according to WWAY.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio