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Update from Napa, California Print E-mail
Napa When one thinks of Napa, California, they often envision a place of the affluent, at least that is what I thought before I came here. It is a place that the affluent come to visit or have second homes but that does not describe the majority of the population here.

Since arriving Thursday evening, we have taken the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs to hundreds of people and prayed with most about Jesus being a firm foundation when other foundations can be shaken or rattled.

We were with the Children at St. John’s Lutheran School where many children and parents are not able to sleep soundly for fear of another earthquake and being trapped in their room.

Upon visiting the Concordia Nursing home in Napa – where residents lost things from the shaking – we found that many were also fearful of being trapped in their rooms like several were after the earthquake hit.


On Friday evening we offered an open time at the church for members of the congregation and community. During this time people could come in a spend time with the Comfort Dogs and hear about the mercy and compassion of Christ Jesus.

A news station from San Francisco came out to do a story on the Comfort dogs that aired Friday evening on the news and also on the Saturday morning 8 a.m. news announcing we will be at St Johns Sunday morning.

On Saturday we started by spending time with members and community people at Mission Gardens at St. John Lutheran Trailer court where most of the people are elderly and retired.

Three trailers were completely destroyed by fires caused by the earthquake and over half of the others were rocked off of their foundations. Everyone told stories on how they struggled to try and make it out of their homes in the aftermath.


Most residents live on a fixed income with no insurance. Besides being there with the Comfort Dogs we handed out financial assistance to those in need.

While we have been here we have done personal family visits from requests sent to us.

We visited the Red Cross Shelter that has been set up for those in need of living assistance. The number of those staying at the shelter has increased each day as people’s homes have been condemned. Many of these families include children.

We spent time with families at the shelter who were scared and cannot sleep.

Later we went to the Veterans Home where we spent the late afternoon and evening with veterans suffering from memory loss and PTSD.

Both days – so many tears and stories – but what was rewarding was to see their scared faces turn to smiles when they spent time with the Comfort Dogs and we could pray with them. All were thankful that we came out to them to listen and be that presence of Jesus in this time of hurt and fear.

Thank you for all of your support, your prayers, and Compassion for those who suffer – wherever they live!

See Damage of Napa View Pictures from Napa Donate to the K-9 Napa Travel Fund
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 September 2014 10:43
Urgent Appeal to Bring LCC Comfort Dogs to Earthquake Victims in Napa Valley Area Print E-mail
earthquake damage Napa, CA LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs have been invited to come to St. John's Lutheran Church in Napa, California and the surrounding area as soon as possible due to the earthquake that hit on Sunday morning. A team of four LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and handlers will arrive in Napa later this afternoon.

Yesterday LCC received a phone call from Pastor Mark Heine and Rev. Michael Schmid - Pastors at St. John's Lutheran Church and School in Napa, California - asking for LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs to come to be with families in their church and community who are beginning to feel the emotional effects of the recent earthquake that hit the area earlier this week.

earthquake damage Napa, CAThe District President, Rev. Bob Newton, also asked that we come in to help them with the recovery. They are asking that we come as soon as possible and stay through next Wednesday, September 4.

Pastor Heine told LCC that clean-up is well underway. Everybody is working to regain some sense of normalcy to routine, but nerves are frayed, especially with aftershocks that continue to strike the town.

Children and adults are having trouble sleeping and many people will not even enter their owns homes for fear that they are no longer safe. School children of all ages are frightened when dropped off for school and parents are nervous about separating from their children. The hospital staff is stressed and first responders are experiencing heightened stress due to the earthquake.

Building inspections are being expanded beyond the severely hit downtown area, where many historic, old building suffered structural damage (see video captured via drone).

earthquake damage Napa, CAA growing number of people are being told their homes are no longer safe to live in and will need to find temporary living arrangements.

Through it all, St. John's still held their morning worship service on Sunday, just five hours after the earthquake hit. Pastor Heine wrote that it was "a time to worship our Creator and Protector, our Refuge and to minister to each other."

As in any disaster, it causes intense anxiety as to what has happened and what could still happen. This is particularly true with children. As Christians, we cannot explain why something happened but we can bring and point to the hope we have in Jesus Christ and share His mercy and compassion to those who are suffering.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. - Psalm 46:1-3

earthquake damage Napa, CAPlease keep everyone in the earthquake area in your prayers. LCC President Tim Hetzner along with staff members Dana Yocum and Dan Fulkerson will be leaving this afternoon, Thursday, August 28, for Napa. They will be accompanied by LCC volunteer K-9 handlers Lynn Buhrke, Toni Bazon and LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Shami (St. John, Darien), Isaiah (Holy Cross, Portage, IN), Luther and Ruthie. LCC never charges those we serve and rely on the support of others to help cover transportation costs. Thank you for your support.

You can contribute by:
Donating online:
Napa K-9 Comfort Dog Travel Fund
Donating by mail (please put "K9 Napa Travel Fund" in the memo line):
     Lutheran Church Charities
     333 W Lake Street
     Addison, IL 60101
Donate by phone: (866) 455-6466

Click here to donate to the K-9 Comfort Dog Napa Travel Fund View photos of the damage in Napa
Last Updated on Monday, 01 September 2014 09:05
Meet the Trainers Print E-mail
Kare-9 Buck and Master Trainer Alex Brooks

Alex Brooks

Master Trainer

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Alex has been training dogs since the late 1970′s with an extensive background in all types of training. He was a columnist for the Daily Herald and Journal & Topics writing and answering questions on canine behavior. He has worked with local police canine units and has even trained narcotics dogs. For animal control, he does evaluations and has appeared in court as an expert witness. He also works closely with local animal shelters and rescue organizations doing volunteer work in training dogs so they are easier to place in a forever home. He trains dogs to help the physically challenged gain improved freedom, independence, and quality of life.

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Marcy Brooks Trainer

Marcy Brooks


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Marcy Brooks has been working with dogs for over 23 years. She began training her family dog only to find what training methods she did NOT like. When she got her own dog she began researching trainers and found the method she liked best. She eventually quit her job and began working for the trainer. While with the trainer, she met her husband Alex Brooks. He had been working with the same trainer for many years and was perfecting his technique playing to his own natural talents and abilities. Together Marcy and Alex opened Alex Brooks School of Dog Training (now Alex Brooks Canine Center), in 1989. Marcy is a Certified Canine Specialist, certified in Pet CPR and First Aid, a Reiki Master, a AKC CGC Evaluator, and has been educated in the use of essential oils on pets.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 08:50
Meet the Teams Print E-mail
Kare-9 Blitz and Veteran Bob Royce

Kare-9 Blitz and Veteran Bob Royce

Kare-9 Team

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Bob served in the Army for two years. He went to Vietnam in January of 1969 and returned one year later. Bob was in the American Division out of Chu Lai located in the northern part of the country. His actual unit was the 198th LIB or Light Infantry Brigade. Since Bob was trained for infantry and mortars he served as a RTO or Radio Telephone Operator. He carried a radio, PRC25 when patrolling with various companies and would call in fire missions for support when there was an ongoing battle.

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Kare-9 Brandy and Veteran Marvin Hanks

Kare-9 Brandy and Veteran Marvin Hanks

Kare-9 Team

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Marvin served in the navy for twenty years from November 1954 to March 1974. He served five years off the coast of Vietnam during the war from 1965 to 1970 and retired as a chief machinist mate. Marvin served on two aircraft carriers East and West coast. He also was a Destroyer Tender and three destroyer’s home ported in Hawaii, and Japan. His last duty station was Great Lakes Naval Training Center as a Service School instructor for Machinist Mates. Also Marvin worked at Allstate Insurance Co. for twenty years as a building engineer. Marvin and his wife, Yoshiko, are members of St John Lutheran Church in Northbrook, IL.

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Kare-9 Brutus and Veteran Tom Beazley

Kare-9 Brutus and Veteran Tom Beazley

Kare-9 Team

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Tom enlisted in the USMC (Marine Corps) on October 20, 1965 and was honorably discharged on October 19, 1968. During his active service time he served in Vietnam from September 1966 till May 1968.The majority of his time in country he was in combat out in the boonies. Tom also fought in the city of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive which was one of the deadliest times he spent there. While in Vietnam Tom received R & R several times visiting Hawaii, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. These are places he would have never had an opportunity to visit. Tom achieved the rank of Sergeant (E-5) and was posted to El Toro Air Base, California for the last few months of his active service.

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Kare-9 Chief and Veteran Richard Skinner

Kare-9 Chief and Veteran Richard Skinner

Kare-9 Team

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Richard entered the U.S. Navy on February 29th, 1972 and served until August 13, 2003. This period included the final years of the Vietnam War through Operation Desert Storm. Richard’s primary assignments were in areas of Cryptology (first 14 years) and Law Enforcement (final 7 ½ years). He attained the rank of Senior Chief Master-At-Arms (E8) and was retired with a 30% disability.

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Kare-9 Flex and Veteran Fred Vanstrom

Kare-9 Flex and Veteran Fred Vanstrom

Kare-9 Team

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Fred served in the US Army from 1970–1972. His active duty assignment was with the 34th Artillery Detachment, 559th US Army Artillery Group, Southern European Task Force (SETAF). Shortly after being discharged, Fred got married to his college sweetheart, Kathy. Fred and Kathy are still married and they have two grown and married daughters. Fred is now retired having worked his entire career in IT otherwise known as DP/MIS/IS. Prior to being involved with the LCC Kare-9 Military Ministry Fred was fortunate enough to participate in the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry as a caretaker and handler. He therefore have seen first-hand how these wonderful dogs bring comfort and compassion to people in need of emotional support.

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Kare-9 Spike and Veteran Raleigh Showens

Kare-9 Spike and Veteran Raleigh Showens

Kare-9 Team

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Raleigh was drafted into the Army on October 26, 1966. He attended Basic Training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Raleigh then went onto Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He then went to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Raleigh traveled all over the world in hospital flights. He crossed over the ocean 37 times in 19 months. Raleigh served in the Army for two years from October 26, 1966 to October 25, 1968.

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Kare-9 Susie and Veteran Brad Schroeder

Kare-9 Susie and Veteran Bad Schroeder

Kare-9 Team

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Brad served in the Army from August 10, 1967 to August 9, 1969. He served in the 199th Infantry Brigade in Vietnam from February 1968 to February 1969.Brad achieved the rank of Sergeant, he was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for Valor. He was honorably discharged in August 1969. Brad is married and he and his wife, Ginny have two children.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 08:55
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Visit Countryside Association Print E-mail
Countryside On Monday, August 25, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Ruthie (LCC), Olympia (LCC), and Zina (LCC) had a chance to visit with clients at Countryside Association for People with Disabilities in Palatine. Countryside is a place dedicated to offering a better quality of life for the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Comfort Dogs met with clients and made many new friends.
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