Comfort dogs arrive in Boulder to help those grieving with King Soopers tragedy

Grocery Store Tragedy

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — A team of comfort dogs has been deployed to help those grieving in Boulder.

“Whenever there’s a crisis, we get invited,” Bonnie Fear told FOX31.

Fear is the director of crisis deployment for Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry. She is based out of Redeemer Lutheran in Fort Collins and has deployed with Cubby the Comfort Dog to several tragic events across the country.

This time, it hits very close to home.

“It really, really hits us hard,” Fear said. “We’re about 50 miles away and it’s our home. We’re with these people.”

Cubby and fellow Colorado Comfort Dog Devorah allow anyone around them to pet and hug them.

“They’re cute, they’re not judgmental, they’re good listeners,” Fear said. “And they bring that calmness.”

The dogs have a real effect on those experiencing tragedy.

“Yesterday we did have two people, once they saw the dog, their emotions came out and that’s what we want to happen. We want them to release that pain, that suffering with these dogs,” Fear said.

In addition to Cubby and Devorah, Fear’s church partnered with Lutheran Church Charities for its Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Ministry to place 10 white crosses with blue hearts at the memorial site to honor each victim.

“Cubby and I have been on 11 deployments and it’s the major crises, the mass shootings, and we’d always see this guy carrying these white crosses,” Fear said.

That man was Greg Zanis of Illinois. He spent many years building crosses and delivering them to national tragedies and mass shootings. Zanis died in 2020 and asked LCC to take over the project, according to Fear.

“We care about these people whose names are on that cross and we know people are hurting,” she said.

The crosses are meant to symbolize hope, while the dogs are meant to provide relief from the pain of tragedy.

“People aren’t smiling in conditions like this but it’s the touch of this animal that brings the unconditional love,” Fear said.

LCC has a team of about 130 comfort dogs across the United States. Four more will deploy to Boulder from Nebraska on Wednesday to join Cubby and Devorah as they help those in Boulder.

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