In the wake of Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., help arrived over the weekend in the form of a group of therapeutic golden retrievers.
About 10 dogs made the 800-mile trek from the Chicago area to Newtown to provide comfort to those affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The K-9 Comfort Dogs are managed by Lutheran Church Charities in Addison, Illinois.
"The dogs have become the bridge," Lynn Buhrke, a handler for one of the dogs, told the Chicago Tribune. "People just sit down and talk to you."
The group was created when several handlers traveled to Northern Illinois University in 2008 after a gunman killed five students on the school's campus. They've also worked with victims and others affected by the tornado in Joplin, Mo., as well as Hurricane Sandy.
While the dogs can be especially helpful for children, even adults are comforted by the sight of the animals.
"Dogs are nonjudgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone," Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities, told the Chicago Tribune. "It creates the atmosphere for people to share."
Community members could interact with the dogs on Sunday at Christ the King Lutheran Church, where two funerals are being held this week. On Monday the dogs will be working with Sandy Hook students at after school activities.
Each dog has its own name, Facebook page, Twitter account and email, so people can keep in touch after meeting the animals.
(H/T to Barstool Sports)