ADDISON, Ill. (WBBM) — The Addison-based Lutheran Church Charities is using “comfort dogs” to help stressed people in tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, the organization has been using the dogs for years at disaster scenes.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports

Lutheran Church Charities President Tim Hetzner says the organization has 36 dogs – golden retrievers – being rotated in and out.

A person pets the dogs, Hetzner says, and it lowers the person’s blood pressure.

“Comfort dogs – canine comfort dogs – we started using them in disaster response, but we also place them in churches,” Hetzner said. “But we have found that they are just an incredible ministry tool for people, because as people talk, they pet the dog and they relax, and it’s somehow that there’s a magical effect of a dog.”

This is especially true, Hetzner says, for traumatized kids.

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