LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Bring Love and Support to the Students and Staff of Foothill Adventist Elementary Destroyed by Glass Fire
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Aaron (St. John’s - Napa, California), Micah (Light of the Valley - Elk Grove, California), and Reuben (First Lutheran - Yuba City, California) and their ministry teams were invited by the principal and counselors from Foothill Adventist School in Angwin, California, which was destroyed by the Glass Fire.
On Tuesday, October 20, the Comfort Dogs visited with children and staff at a new temporary location at Pacific Union College Elementary School in Angwin, their first day back at their interim school. The Comfort Dogs and their handlers worked with counselors to help children process a very difficult time.
“Today seemed to be a day that began with heavy hearts but ended with a bit of hope and encouragement. We began our day at the site where the main building (a classroom, administrative offices, and meeting rooms) burned down and much of the property was badly damaged in the Glass Fire. Some of the classrooms are still standing but we are not sure of the extent of the damage. Note that the wooden sign with the children holding Jesus’ hand, did not burn."
Many of the students and parents opened up their hearts and shared touching stories with us. For some, the Glass Fire evacuation was their second evacuation in three weeks. One little boy lost his home in Paradise, California, in the Camp Fire just two years ago and is still living in a hotel unable to return home with his grandmother.
Aaron Comfort Dog's handler shared "When he sat down, he began to pet Aaron, and was silent at first. Aaron's handler asked him how he was doing and he began to talk. As he talked he felt more and more comfortable with Aaron. Their youth pastor, Pastor Jessie said 'This is amazing. He does not talk. To hear his voice right now brings me to tears. What a special blessing your team is for us.'"
One of the parents shared her story how her family had just moved up from San Diego in May. They had been evacuated twice since then. While she and the children are back in their home, her husband is forced to stay at a hotel in Napa as his business relies on the internet and cell service. She expressed how scared she was and that she just wanted to go back to San Diego. She loved Aaron and we were able to give her and her daughter some quiet time with Aaron. She was so grateful and thanked us for being there.
After the students spent time with the Comfort Dogs, it was the teachers’ turn. Many spoke about the stress they are under both privately and professionally with COVID-19, fires, distance learning, etc. And they were so grateful for the support we provided. We left each of the four classrooms with a stuffy of each dog
According to Aaron Comfort Dog’s handler "The school’s seventh and eighth grade teacher sat down to pet Aaron and just began to cry. We sat quietly with her and when she was ready, she began to share her story. She had so much on her mind. She was currently staying with the school’s principal and his family as she was unable to be in her home. She took the teaching position last year after the former seventh and eighth grade teacher had a stroke."
Our visit to Foothill Adventist Elementary School was amazing. It truly showed us that God is at work, and our ministry is such an important part of His work. There were tears shed by some and smiles from others. Most of all, there was an amazing amount of love and blessings for these children, staff and families who have been through so much.
Please keep the school’s families, teachers, staff, and all those affected by the fires in your prayers!
LCC never goes where we are not invited. The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry NEVER charges those we serve. We pick up all of our travel and meal costs. We put boots and paws on the ground within 24 hours (often fewer) from the time we get the invite.
Please consider a donation to the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry so that we may continue to show the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
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