Working police service dogs visit Newtown to share comfort with anyone who needs it

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NEWTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Grief can be unmovable, even years later. That’s especially true for people living in the community where a tragedy unfolded.

A few furry friends were on hand on Tuesday in Newtown to share comfort with anyone who needs it.

It isn’t your typical meet-and-greet at Newtown’s Dickinson Park. Indy, Chase, Bear, and Liberty are working police service dogs from across Connecticut and as far away as Concord, New Hampshire.

“We’re here today because we want to support the folks that went through this tragedy nine years ago. We’re here to do whatever we can. Our dogs are great in the sense that they’re able to connect with people, kids, provide a little comfort for everybody,” said Heather McClelland, Groton Police, Community Police Officer.

A gunman killed 20 children and 6 educators inside Sandy Hook School on Dec. 14, 2012. Nine years later, these dogs are there to share love with the people of Newtown on the day the community will never forget.

“It really hits home, and before it was all numbers and figures, and now being here, it’s real, it’s more realistic,” Lenny O’Keefe, of Concord, New Hampshire, said.

The service dogs are from police departments in Naugatuck, Groton, Middletown, and Concord, New Hampshire, and are trained by the nonprofit organization Puppies Behind Bars that teaches prisoners to train dogs to serve communities.

“The police K9 that you think about, they’re going to seek out narcotics or bombs or be able to track people when they’re suspects or help find somebody, but these dogs, they’re a different kind of dog,” McClelland said. “They’re there to provide comfort for the victims.:

After the meet-and-greet, the dogs will get to work at Newton’s Resiliency Center, spreading comfort to all who need it.

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