2019 ACE Award Winner Gunther Brings Smiles to Anguished Survivors

After a long day of supporting those impacted by the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, John Hunt, co-founder of Crisis Response Canines, and Gunther, his 3-year-old Rottweiler, traveled to a nearby Cross Memorial to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. That’s when they found a young man crying.

“Gunther and I approached him and we started to chat,” recalls Hunt. “He was kneeling in front of one of the crosses and began to pet and hug Gunther. He told about how he and his friend — who was hiding inside a bathroom in the nightclub — were texting when suddenly the texts stopped. Turns out, the friend was one of the victims. Gunther, non-judgmental, sat alongside and allowed him to hold and hug him while he remembered a loved one.”

This is just one of many times the CRC dogs have been there to help heal. The loss of life in mass tragedies is only the tip of the brittle, unsettling landscape. What follows is a cascading mix of emotions for those left behind.

Enter Crisis Response Canines (Sicklerville, New Jersey) which serves up a dose of psychological first aid for survivors and victims’ families and friends. “We can’t change what happened,” says Hunt, of Gloucester Township, New Jersey, “but we can certainly prompt a few smiles and conversations from those who have cried their hearts out and not wanted to interact with anyone until now.”    To read the full article click here