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Golden Retrievers Comfort Newtown

Lutheran Church Charities in Addison, Ill., sent a group of 9 Golden Retrievers 800 miles to respond to the tragedy in Newtown. The dogs are trained therapy dogs and Newtown mourners—many children—were able to pet them and receive a little bit of comfort from the friendly dogs.

What a specific, thoughtful act of kindness.

A quote from Fred Rogers has been making its way around the internet since last Friday’s shootings, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” It’s true. And while horrible things like this reveal a very senseless, sad, and ugly side of humanity it does seem to be coupled with the flip side, the helpers.

Parents are wondering how to talk to their kids about what happened. I can’t answer that for anyone, but I think a discussion of the specific acts of kindness surrounding the tragedy are an important part of the whole story. There are details to latch onto and remember which will teach children that being kind and helpful is often a simple, thoughtful gesture.

Firefighters outside the funeral of a little boy, pink bows for a funeral in Ogden, Golden Retrievers sent across the country, even Paul Simon singing The Sound of Silence—These are meager offerings in the face of tragedy, but they are something and, surprisingly, I think they help a little even when it seems like nothing could.

I’m glad someone thought to send those dogs all the way to Newtown. Even though they may have thought, what can dogs do? Or, what a long trip just so people can pet dogs. I love that the impracticality of it was completely overshadowed by the slim chance of easing just a little bit of pain. I love that someone would do that.

Read more of my writing at Babble or check out my blog, Every Day I Write the Book.

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