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Therapy Dogs To Aid Survivors, First Responders In Sandy Hook Tragedy

(credit: Katie Wiggin/WLNY)

(credit: Katie Wiggin/WLNY)

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Tragedy In Newtown

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In Newtown, Conn., survivors, their families, and first responders are beginning the long road to recovery.

And there will be some animals to help along the way.

The Good Dog Foundation is working to provide survivors and those affected by the shootings with the support and comfort they need by bringing in their teams of certified therapy dogs.

More: How To Help The People Of Newtown

With more than 1,000 active teams to provide as resources, the animal-assisted services for students will remain in Newtown indefinitely.

Founder and Executive director Rachel McPherson appeared on The Couch to talk about the project.

As she explained, the Good Dog Foundation does around 30,000 visits a year to hospitals, as well as to children with learning and reading issues. In addition, the group responds to events like the tragedy in Newtown.

“We created our crisis response division when 9/11 happened,” she said. “We also worked at Katrina. People are drawn to animals because the animal-human bond is so powerful and at these particular times, there’s nothing greater than holding and being with a dog, and the comfort they bring to people is so powerful.”

The Good Dog foundation is currently in four states – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts – and currently has teams aiding the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“We’ve been working in the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Long Beach, Red Hook,” McPherson said.

Displaced families and high-needs medical patients staying in shelters ‐ Residents and FEMA workers at FEMA centers ‐ have also been visited by therapy dogs.

For more information, or if you want to see if your pup has what it takes to be a therapy dog, visit please visit thegooddogfoundation.org.