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Four-Legged Friends Are Helping Sutherland Springs Survivors Cope

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS (CBSDFW.COM) - People began arriving in Sutherland Springs early Wednesday, bringing a unique form of support and comfort.

Luke Foster is a nearby resident, "It's hit me every time thinking this could've been one of my children, could've been me, it could have been any of us."

While authorities continue the investigation around the sealed off First Baptist Church where 26 people were killed on Sunday, first responders in the form of comfort dogs arrived to meet with families of the victims now officially identified.

Tim Hetzner is with K-9 Comfort Dogs, "How do you help the people who have gone through so much with your service? A key part of healing in any crisis or disaster is to be able to talk about it."

The dogs may look like typical family pets, but they have been specially trained for two years and were deployed after the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sandy Hook.

K-9 Companions at Sutherland Springs (CBS11)

The trainers say they offer something not all humans can.

"Dogs are great listeners, their confidential, their non-judgmental and they don't take notes so they are safe," says Hertzner.

The dogs and their handlers meet with grieving families of those who died and the traumatized survivors in an undisclosed location.

"They just come up the dogs and start petting the dogs. They cry, we cry with them it's all key in that process."

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