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Hilton Head therapy dog helps in Surfside, Fla.

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 2:30 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - Meet Zoara. She lives on Hilton Head and was one of nine therapy dogs from around the country deployed to Surfside, Florida by Lutheran Church Charities.

“We went down, and we would stand by the memorial wall and any family members that were there they could come up and they could pet the dogs,” Rachelle Jeffery, the ‘top dog’ of the Island Lutheran Therapy Dog Program, said.

Zoara went through 2,000 hours of training to learn commands. But you can’t teach the joy she brought first responders who were working on the devastating scene.

“They looked very tired going across the street then they saw the dogs and you could see their eyes light up and their smiles on their face,” Zoara said. “It was probably one of the best moments of our deployment, we felt like we were really making a difference and being there to help them unwind a little bit from the stress that they were going under.”

The group of pups comforted people in the worst of times.

“Their dog just kind of leaned in to those family members and they just hugged them, same thing with the first responders and the young girl who was displaced from her home and the dog just leaned into them and they just hug them and they start to cry.”

Not only man’s best friend, but for people in Surfside their best emotional support.

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