Just after the Orlando mass shooting, 12 golden retrievers arrived to Florida City, as part of a disaster response team. Each dog was specifically picked as a puppy because its calm behavior, and all were individually trained to be gentle, comforting and affectionate. They’re also very focused, and give attention without barking, jumping, or getting distracted by secondary events.
Last week, these animals visited hospitals and churches, and were with the staff from Pulse (the nightclub of the tragedy). These dogs were also the same ones that were in Boston after the marathon and in Sandy Hook after the tragic school shooting. When there’s no national tragedies, they go schools, hospitals and nursing homes.
Multiple studies show that dogs and humans have a special bound, and can help us get out of the blue. There are even some resources that state that they have biological effects on humans by increasing the levels of the oxytocin hormone, also known as “the love hormone”. Oxytocin can improve trust, the ability to interpret facial expressions, the overcoming of paranoia, and other positive social effects, says the Smithsonian.
There are even some studies that state that petting dogs can help lower people’s heart rates, as well as reducing stress and anxiety. It’s also very common to use these dogs to reduce the feelings of depression and to reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. People talk and cry out their problems and worries with the dogs, and since they have great empathy and are great listeners, they have very positive effects in helping to overcome them.