BELVIDERE - A dog running
around inside a church doesn't look all that normal, but "Kye" isn't a normal
dog. He belongs to
"It takes somebody with a heart to serve in the community and also the heart to want to help people and bring comfort to people," said Kye's trainer, Sue Piske.
Comfort dogs were
"We got the call from Lutheran Church Charities," said Libby Robertson, coordinator of the Comfort Dog Ministries.
"They had been
invited back again to be with the kids when they returned to the new
Robertson says the job wasn't easy, listening to the kids' sometimes heart-breaking stories. But Robertson says having the comfort dogs there gave many of these kids the ability to talk about what was on their mind, sometimes for the first time.
"As they're petting
them, they become more and more relaxed and when that happens they are able to
open up, they can talk about what's troubling them," said Robertson. "And in this case, in the
The effect the dogs had on the children was profound. Robertson recalls a student returning to the school; he came in to pet the dogs. She says they always ask the students if they have a dog at home, and Robertson says this one student says he had one that died just the year before.
"He said, 'I think that probably my dog and my sister are in heaven together,' and that's when I realized that this little boy had lost his sister," said Robertson.
One of Immanuel
Lutheran's dogs is still in
"It makes me proud to be a part of it and I'm so excited I got the chance to work with her out there," said Piske.