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Comfort Dogs
Shelter from the Storm Print E-mail
k-9 comfort dogs “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall.” Isaiah 25:4

The shelter provided by God for Antigo High School & Peace Lutheran Church, Antigo, Wisconsin, may come in the form of K-9 Comfort Dogs with their handlers who bring comfort, compassion, presence, and distraction.

The K-9 Comfort Dogs and handlers: K-9 Comfort Dog Luther and Rich Martin, K-9 Comfort Dog in Training Silas and Hannah McGinnis, K-9 Comfort Dog Angel and Kristin Stapleton, K-9 Comfort Dog Bekah and Lynne Johnson, K-9 Comfort Dog in Training Job and Terry Ressler, Lila and Joy Friede, K-9 Comfort Dog Ruthie and Lynn Buhrke, and K-9 Comfort Dog Zina and Joel Mortiz were a presence on Wednesday at Antigo High School and Peace Lutheran Church.

The Comfort Dogs and handlers role was to be that shelter the students, parents and staff needed after the shooting. The handlers and dogs listened and gave comfort as the students, parents and staff shared their shock, fear, anger, and grief as a result this tragic experience.

The K-9 Comfort Dogs provided a distraction with their furry faces and soft accepting eyes. For a brief time, the shock of what happened was displaced as the students sat or laid on the floor snuggling and petting their furry new friends.

The students even had some moments of levity as they learned that K-9 Comfort Dog in Training Job, named for the Biblical figure Job, not “job”. It was a pleasant distraction learning the meaning of Job’s name and how Job has a “job” to bring comfort and joy to those who are hurting.

The students, parents and staff of Antigo High School and Peace Lutheran also are a shelter of compassion and mercy for one another and the community. Instead of hatred or gossip for the shooter, the students spoke of and offered compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and prayers that he is saved, and one day they will see him in the heaven.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:16-18

LCC never charges those we serve. Your gift will help us continue to bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 April 2016 09:38
Comfort Dog Anna Visits with 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard Print E-mail
Anna Comfort Dog Psalm 91:15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

Anna and her LCC Comfort Dog ministry team from Trinity Lutheran Church in Toledo, Ohio are honored to know many of the men and women of the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard. We first became acquainted with them in November when we were asked to attend an event for the families of those airmen that were scheduled to be deployed in a few months. Many stopped by our table to enjoy some comfort from Anna and kind words from her ministry team.

The next time we met was in January, the night that the men and women were actually deployed overseas. Families waited for hours for their loved ones to depart, so Anna played a very important role in keeping the children occupied while the adults asked questions about what she does and where she goes. Most were surprised to learn that a church owns her. Anna circulated throughout the crowded hanger showing compassion and putting smiles on otherwise sad faces.

Because Anna was so well received by the 180th, we were building a working relationship with the coordinators for family services. So about a month into the deployment, we were asked to host an event for the families of those deployed. Anna and her entire Comfort Dog ministry team, along with many other church and school volunteers, hosted the day-long event at Trinity Lutheran Church and School. There were several informative breakout sessions for the adults, while the children rotated through games in the gym, art projects and X-box in our youth room. Anna and a handler circulated to each room, welcoming everyone to our church and school. At one point, Anna and some of her handlers were invited to a pretend picnic in the pre-school room, hosted by three young ladies that made us feel very special.

Then as the families left, Anna presented each child with a stuffed Anna Comfort Dog. We heard several children ask if they could come back to Trinity next month for another event!

In April, Anna and her team were once again honored to be present for the airmen’s homecoming. It was a beautiful sunny day for the men and women to arrive home to their loved ones. We were able to see many of our friends and take pictures of them with Anna and their welcome home signs while we stood and waited on the flight line. Most of those there remembered Anna from at least one of the previous events and were very happy to see her again. Several children talked about playing with their stuffed Anna dogs at home.

Anna’s team is very blessed to have been able to show the mercy and compassion of Christ to the airmen and their families.

When the call came, you answered that call! God bless these brave men and women.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 14:11
Nine New Handlers Unite Print E-mail


Nine new handlers, including four of our country’s veterans, were brought together this past weekend (April 23-24) through these dogs, which are a gift given to us by God.

The new handlers spent two intense days learning the commands and how to work with an LCC K-9 Comfort Dog as a team, and about the mission of serving others by being open, being present, listening, and praying.

LCC Kare 9 Ministry’s new veteran handlers are:
Len Higgins, First Good Shepherd in Las Vegas, NV: Air Force -1961-1988
George Chambers, Atonement in Columbus, OH: Army - 1965-1968
Ken Eby, Immanuel in Joplin, MO: Army - 1974-1978
Nine Gary Kirkpatrick, LCC Kare-9 volunteer: Army - 2002-2004

LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry’s new handlers are:
Tom Daub, Beautiful Savior, Mequon, WI
Nancy Carroll, Holy Cross, Portage, IN
Brett Hubbard, Atonement, Columbus, OH
Dan deBoer, Lord of Glory, Grayslake, IL
Erin Erzinger, LCC staff

Nine people from around the country with different God given-gifts united together to serve others.

Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!

These servants of the Lord rearranged their schedules and traveled to Northbrook because they believe in the mission: to show mercy, compassion, and presence to others just as Christ showed us.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 17:26
Planes, Trains and Lambs Print E-mail
Exodus Recently, a full Kare 9 Military Dog Squad training event was held at the viewing area of the Chicago Executive Airport just north of LCC's headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. The purpose of this training is to acclimate the dogs to the sights and sounds of airplanes taking off and landing. This is in preparation for an upcoming event in Davenport, Iowa next week where they will be witness to a WWII B-17 bomber taking off and landing.

Little did they know God had other plans. Within minutes of our arrival, a van pulled up from Lamb's Farm (A non-profit organization serving people with developmental disabilities) with approximately 15 residents. They were there to watch the airplanes. Needless to say, after they saw the dogs, the airplanes were no longer a focus of their attention. What a wonderful God we serve. He arranges our appointments according to His plan.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 April 2016 13:56
Mercy & Compassion Have No Boundaries Print E-mail
Cook County To see life threw the through the lens of a camera. That was Christopher Jacobs' mission when he decided to make a difference in the life of detainees at the Cook County Jail. “CJ," as the detainees refer to him, has been teaching photography classes at the Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center for some time now. The detainees carefully listen to CJ as he critiques their work and selects his favorites and asks which are theirs.

The class has worked on profile photography, different objects, their cells, and each other. Two weeks ago CJ announced to the class they would be using live models the following week for their class. Who they met in class the following week was a huge surprise!

CJ, no stranger to the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs, has taken hundreds of photographs of them at the United Airlines Fantasy Flight for seriously ill children. It was there that he was inspired to bring the Comfort Dogs in on this very unique and special class project.

Cook County

When LCC staff members Rich Martin, Sherry Bolosan, and Joel Moritz arrived with the K-9 models on the morning of April 15, 2016, they were escorted through the customary security checks and entered a classroom to find their friend and instructor, CJ. He explained how the class would work and asked the team to sit at the back of the room until the detainees entered. Comfort Dogs Ruthie, Sarah, and Luther sat patiently as they waited for the session to begin.

First, the corrections officers entered and then one by one the detainees entered the classroom quickly and were shocked to see that their models were Golden Retriever Comfort Dogs. The expressions on their faces were familiar to the handlers. Joyful smiles and excitement filled the room. Many of the men had only had previous contact with protection dogs. One detainee was extremely afraid of dogs, but with CJ’s encouragement, he was slowly shown the love of the Comfort Dogs.

The detainees were encouraged to take a photo of whatever they found to be interested or significant during the class. The handlers shared with the class stories of the people, places and situations that handlers and Comfort Dogs work with. As the class moved into the courtyard, the photography session ended. The team then asked the men if they would like to pray with the LCC team and it was met with a resounding “YES”.

LCC is thankful for the many people who volunteer, work, and show Mercy and Compassion to those less fortunate. Thanks again to Christopher Jacobs ( and Dr. Dena Williams for all they do to Make a Difference in the lives of so many.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 April 2016 09:31
Passing of the Leash - Sheba Comfort Dog Print E-mail
Sheba The handlers, caregivers, and congregation of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Washington, Missouri celebrated the Passing of the Leash of their new K-9 Comfort Dog, Sheba Philippians 3:8, on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10. Tim Hetzner, President of LCC, presented Sheba, to Immanuel and welcomed the church to the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry. President Hetzner was invited to make a presentation during the Bible Study hour to the congregation on Sunday. Debbie Schwartz, Andrew Schwartz, Wilma Adams, Lana Kloppe, Alicia Pruser, Shannan Robinson, and Rich Ulsas were trained the previous week as handlers and caregivers at LCC in Northbrook, Illinois along with Top Dogs Kelly Hardt and Susie Blatt.

Three of the Missouri LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers attended the Passing of the Leash: St Paul Lutheran Church in Des Peres (K-9 Comfort Dog Tabby), Timothy Lutheran Church in St Louis (K-9 Comfort Dog Noah), and St Paul Lutheran Church in Concordia (K-9 Comfort Dog Jessy). Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Collinsville, Illinois (K-9 Comfort Dog Esther) also were there to support the handlers and caregivers at the Passing of the Leash for Sheba.

Lutheran Church Charities welcomes Immanuel, Washington, Missouri to the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry. We pray for the handlers as they begin this journey with K-9 Sheba, reaching out with the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 15:58
K-9 Comfort Dogs Respond to Death of Student Print E-mail
St. Mary LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Teams responded after receiving a request from Principal Richard Morehouse of St Mary’s School in Pontiac, Illinois after the death of a student. Blaze, an 8th grade student at St. Mary’s, was killed in an ATV accident on Saturday, April 9, 2016. LCC staff dog trainer, Jeanne Moore, along with volunteer trainers and handlers Elaine Mortensen and Sarah Walters (Comfort Dogs in training Olive, Bernice, and Gideon) were with the junior high students of St Mary’s on Monday to be present and offer comfort to those in need. LCC lifts up the family of Blaze, his friends, and the faculty and staff of St. Mary’s in prayer.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 10:58
"Hub Strong" Event to Mark One Year Anniversary of Tornado in Rochelle and Fairdale Illinois Print E-mail
Tornado Just one year ago, on April 9, 2015, a tornado tore a path of destruction through Rochelle and nearby Fairdale and left residents stunned. LCC Disaster Response and K-9 Teams quickly responded with boots and paws on the ground.

On the one-year anniversary of this devastating event, the Ogle County Long Term Recovery Committee organized the “HUB STRONG” event in Rochelle as a day of remembrance and thanksgiving. LCC teams visited, remembered and prayed with those who not only still experience stress and pain, but always wanted to offer prayers of thanksgiving for God’s Mercy during this tragedy.

The Rev. Greg Hoffmann, Pastor of Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Rochelle, IL, invited the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog and Kare 9 Military Dog Ministry teams to attend this event to share the Mercy, Compassion, Presence, and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need and to celebrate the rebuilding and healing that has taken place in the past year.

Kare 9 Military Dogs:
Flex and Butch

K-9 Comfort Dogs:
(St. John's Lutheran Church, La Grange, IL)
Butter (St John's Lutheran Church Algonquin, IL)
JoJo (Living Christ Lutheran Church Arlington Heights, IL)
Samuel (LCC)
Shiloh (Christ Our Savior Lutheran, Dixon, IL)
Tara Sunday (LCC)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 10:49
LCC Launches Satellite K-9 Comfort Dog Training School in Nebraska Print E-mail
Nebraska It is with a heart of thankfulness and praise that LCC announces the opening of a satellite K-9 Comfort Dog Training School in Grand Island, Nebraska. While the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry is not about the dog, it is very much about touching lives by offering comfort, demonstrating compassion, being present and listening, and being Christ-like to others.

Comfort Dogs are the bridge that welcome the humans into a person’s life. These creatures are welcoming, accepting, non-threatening, friendly and comforting. These are traits that we aspire to build within ourselves.

Through the trials and tribulations that each person faces, God is always with them. It is thanks for God’s grace and mercy that the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry at LCC has grown to become a service ministry that serves those who are suffering or in need.


LCC K-9 handlers, Don Moeller (satellite facilitator) and Lucy and Mike Kerby (trainers) of Grand Island, have been a vital part of the success of the launch of this new training facility.

The ministry is blessed to have talented, dedicated and committed apprentice trainer volunteers who invest much time and energy learning to train and in turn, train future K-9 Comfort Dogs for the ministry. LCC welcomes Michael and Tara Peterson, Mike and Carol Owen, Michelle Kohlhof, Carol Deardorff, LaVerle and Kathy Miller, Brad and Katie Keasling, Cheryl Weinrich and Brooke Johnson to the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry.


“People are looking for answers and trying to find ways to help. God has given it to us with these dogs but these dogs need to be trained.” said Tim Hetzner, President of Lutheran Church Charities

"God has opened the door in Grand Island, NE by providing the facility, professional trainers, and volunteers to nurture, socialize and train future Comfort Dogs. These dogs will be the bridge that God has given us so we can go out and reach those who are suffering and in need just as Christ taught us.”

The LCC satellite K-9 Comfort Dog Training School in Grand Island, Nebraska, which opened on Thursday, April 7, 2016 has 4 “student” puppies who are eager to learn!

"Like" them on Facebook to see them grown and learn:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine... Ephesians 3:20

Give Today to help support the K-9 training school in Grand Island, Nebraska
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 22:57
One Body Print E-mail

The body is a unit, though it is made of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12 (NIV)

K-9 Team Serving Northrop, MN Handlers and K-9 Comfort Dogs from: Holy Cross - Collinsville, IL, IN; Holy Cross-Portage, IN; Immanuel – Belvidere, IL; Peace – Grand Island, NE; Trinity - Fremont, NE; Trinity – Toledo, OH; Kare-9, and St. Michael – Bloomington, MN all came together to serve the staff, students, and congregation of St James Lutheran Church, Northrop, MN, after the horrific fire that destroyed their building.

The handlers and K-9 Comfort Dogs were there, many parts, but one body. The mission was simple, to love as Jesus loved, to show compassion as Jesus did, to give comfort as Jesus gave comfort to those who are suffering or in need.

Rev. Dr. Mark A. Noren summarized it so well:
Leaving the classroom where the principal and I had spoken briefly, I looked down the hallway. There was a man, a handler, lying spread eagle on the floor facing one direction, a comfort dog facing him, also in somewhat of a spread eagle fashion. Between the dog and the man was a children’s book, and lying in a perpendicular plane to the dog and handler was an elementary child who was reading. I departed with this thought in mind, “Thank you Jesus, these children feel safe. Mission accomplished!”
Sixteen handlers and 10 dogs brought together to serve St James became one body in Christ. God’s mission accomplished.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 09:35
Passing of the Leash This Sunday Print E-mail
In the News

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 13-14 (NIV)

On Thursday, March 31, 2016, 9 handlers and caregivers from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Washington, Missouri arrived at LCC in Northbrook, Illinois. With great excitement they embarked on a 3-day journey, forgetting what was behind them and focused on the path God has set before them. Throughout the training Immanuel's team showed compassion, determination and perseverance as they encouraged one another and surpassed their own expectations.

They now press on towards the goal to share the Mercy, Compassion, Presence, and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need with LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Sheba, the 6th LCC K-9 Comfort Dog in Missouri.

Immanuel Lutheran Church excitedly awaits the Passing of the Leash at their services on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 6pm and Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 8:00 am and 10:45 am. The Passing of the Leash will take place at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 214 West 5th Street, Washington, MO 63090.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 April 2016 09:21
St. James Students Receive Own Comfort Dogs Print E-mail
Plush Toys

The students at St. James Lutheran School in Northrop, Minnesota each received their own plush "Comfort Dog".

If you would like to purchase a plush Comfort Dog to donate to students, children or adults who are in need of comfort, donate $15 today.

Give Today
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 April 2016 09:22
CUW "Model of Excellence' National Award with Comfort Dog Zoey Print E-mail


Concordia University Wisconsin, LCC K-9 affiliate, along with K-9 Comfort Dog Zoey, were recently recognized as a 'Model of Excellence' in Higher Education by University Business and Higher One. This elite recognition is a national award.

The entire K-9 team at LCC is humbled and honored to share in such a prestigious award. The success of the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Program continues to flourish as these amazing dogs serve as a bridge of mercy and compassion to others.

To read more on this exciting award, please CLICK HERE.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 April 2016 10:01
Spring Break Goes to the Comfort Dogs at O’Hare Print E-mail

United PAWS

Travel by air is fast and efficient, but any type of travel can be stressful and airplanes only make the stress arrive faster. That’s why the United Airlines PAWS program requested LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs to stop by the United terminal at O’Hare International Airport on Saturday and Sunday, April 2-3, 2016. For many of the schools in the greater Chicago area, that weekend was either the start or the end of their spring break, so LCC was invited to bring 6 K-9 Comfort Dog teams to ease the pain for the passengers.

Not only did the travelers enjoy the calm demeanor of our K-9 Comfort Dogs, but so did many of the airline's employees. Twelve LCC staff and volunteers spent time with people moving through the terminal, allowing them to touch and hug dogs and pray with LCC K-9 Comfort Dog handlers as the spirit moved.

Thanks to our volunteers and to United for their wonderful support of our ministry. It is a great combination of effort for United and the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs to help reduce the stresses of air travel, especially during busy times.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 April 2016 09:48
Mercy in Trials Print E-mail

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? John 14:2 (NIV)

Monday at Martin Luther High School The principal of Martin Luther High School welcomed the displaced St James school students and staff Monday morning with “casa de Dios es su casa” (“God’s house is your house”) and John 14:2, expressing to the students and staff that Martin Luther High School is making room for St James school. It is God’s house and not their house, and there is room to share at Martin Luther High School. The Martin Luther High School principal, staff and student volunteers were there on Monday to welcome and support St James, staff and students as they transitioned to their temporary home.

The strength, resilience and bond displayed by the staff, students and families as they walked into Martin Luther High School moved the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog handlers. The prayers, support and their faith have given them the strength to move forward.

The students were also welcomed by the LCC K-9 handlers and Comfort Dogs, who visited each grade level. The handlers presented stuffed Comfort Dogs to students and teachers. The students loved having their own “Comfort Dog” and took time selecting the best names for their dogs.

One student, Harley (4th grade), named her stuffed dog “Silas” after she spent time reading a book to Comfort Dog in-training Silas during class. Harley asked Silas’s handler what his Bible verse meant, as each dog has its own verse. Dan, Silas’s handler, taught Harley how to look up 2 Thessalonians 3:16 and asked Harley if she thought that was a good verse for Silas - “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)

This verse was ever present at MLHS because, once Harley and Dan looked up Silas’s verse, it became a class project to look up the verses of the other 9 Comfort Dogs that were present. The students were sharing God’s word and the teachers were able to transition their classes more easily with the help of their new 4-legged teacher assistants.

Kevin, an 8th grade student who would not even look or go near the dogs on Sunday, pet the dogs and opened up by showing pictures of his own dog, cat, and rabbits. His teacher was extremely happy to see this positive and uplifting change after Kevin spent time with his new 4-legged friends.

Monday at Martin Luther High SchoolIn the afternoon, the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and handlers visited Truman Nursing Home and met Lila. Lila made it clear that she does not like dogs. Lila grew up on a farm, and “farm dogs are for outside”. Barb, Comfort Dog Katie’s handler, gave Lila a stuffed comfort dog, which lit Lila up. She said, ‘you made my day, I love THIS dog!”

The Lord of Peace is with the St. James congregation.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 April 2016 07:53
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Partners in Comfort

The Comfort Dog Ministry is made possible through the generous support of the following:

Veterinary Services provided by:

Dr. Michelle T. Cahill, DVM of Academy Animal Hospital, Joplin, MO

Drs. Glen Redeker and Erin Redeker-Goelitz of Spring Hill Veterinary Clinic, Carpentersville, Illinois

Lake Station Pet Clinic, Portage, Indiana

Dr Jacqueline Vernot of Veterinary Vision, Glendale Heights, Illinois

Dr. Paul A. Navin, DVM of All Pets Hospital in Lockport, IL

Dr. Mark Hughes, DVM of Stolley Park Veterinary Hospital , Grand Island, Nebraska

Dr. Ron Mitchell, DVM of Westport Animal Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky

Dr. John DeVries, DVM of The DeVries Animal Hospital, Elmhurst, Illinois

Dr. Julie Mattson of Terry Animal Hospital, Wilmette, Illinois

Drs. Stapleton and Ford of Barrington Animal Hospital, Barrington, Illinois

Dr. Bohdan Rudawski of Fox Lake Animal Hospital, Fox Lake, Illinois

Dr. Brian Rooney of Burr Ridge Veterinary Clinic, Darien, Illinois

Dr. Kurt E. Klepitsch of Gateway Veterinary Clinic, St. Charles, Illinois

Veterinarians of Care Animal Hospital, Arlington Heights, Illinois

Dr. Dana Resetarits, DVM of Buckwalter Veterinary Clinic, Bluffton, South Carolina

Dr. Mark Hughes, DVM of Stolley Park Veterinary Hospital, Grand Island, Nebraska

Dr. Kurt Bedow, DVM of Webster Groves Animal Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri

Grooming Services provided FREE by:

Debbie Szwandrok of Eclipse Dog Grooming, Elmhurst, Illinois

Denise Goelitz of Kitten KaPoodle Mobile Pet Grooming, Elgin, Illinois

Ana Ristic of Two Paws Up in Itasca, Illinois

Jeannie's Pet Boutique, Portage, Indiana

Lisa Racine of Grooming Lodge, South Elgin, Illinois

Paw-metto Pooches Pet Salon, Bluffton, South Carolina

Support these businesses so they will continue to support the dogs!