Comfort dog team provides consolation in Parkland - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Comfort dog team provides consolation in Parkland

Comfort Dog Ministry took Mercy to Parkland by request to help those affected by the school shooting. (Source: Comfort Dog Ministry) Comfort Dog Ministry took Mercy to Parkland by request to help those affected by the school shooting. (Source: Comfort Dog Ministry)
Mercy's handlers say her work in Parkland was not short of magic. (Source: WAVE 3 News) Mercy's handlers say her work in Parkland was not short of magic. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - What happened in Parkland, Florida was not an act of God.

But in Louisville, there are a couple folks who do the work of God under the name of Lutheran Church Charities -- Comfort Dog Ministry -- who responded.

"People who are in these [tragic] situations, they don't want an outsider there," Dave Walls said. "They want to talk to their friends, they want to try to understand what has happened."

Walls is one of the volunteers who donates his time at the ministry. He and Doug Netherton, who heads the ministry in Louisville, took their comfort dog Mercy and spent a few days in Parkland, attempting to console those who were inconsolable.

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"It's humbling to be there, we take a lot of those emotions with us as well," Walls said.

When people are hit with tragedy, they deal with it in different ways. Some people like to talk it out, some don't. Those who seek the help of Mercy the comfort dog, usually are in the latter category.

"They can tell her things and she doesn't repeat them," Walls said with a laugh.

Mercy too prefers silence. Her mouth is always wide open but you'd never hear a peep from her. Walls said that's comfort dog protocol.

"We're not therapists, we don't question their experiences, we don't talk about their experiences we are just there to help them feel better through the use of the dog," Walls explained.

Walls said Mercy's work in Parkland was not short of magic.

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"All of a sudden, [these girls were] petting these four dogs," Walls explained. "Mercy puts her head in two laps at once and the girls start talking about their experiences."

"Part of the ministry is we never go where we're not invited so we always have an invitation and never charge those we serve," Netherton said.

Because how can you put a price on tragedy? How can you put a price on a love that a dog has for people? It's something the handlers can't answer either.

Mercy and the team were also working in Marshall County before they got the call for Parkland.

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