Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal
The Boston Marathon came to a tragic end on Monday after two explosions went off near the finish line approximately four hours into the race, killing three people and injuring more than 170.
Reports show that K-9s assisted officers in providing security prior to the race and in the hours following the deadly explosions, responding to calls from frightened citizens concerned about suspicious packages and scouring the city for clues to yesterday’s tragedy.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said there were two searches for explosives on Monday—once in the morning and another an hour before the first group of runners crossed the finish line.
Bomb-sniffing dogs are trained to recognize thousands of active ingredients and various compounds that could be used in explosives. However, details about the explosive devices used in Boston are still coming in.
These dogs continue to work tirelessly, helping officers all over the country as cities tighten their security. From Atlanta to Seattle, the trained pooches were deployed yesterday to various landmarks, government buildings, transit hubs, and sporting events. Most major cities nationwide are also evaluating their security measures and increasing police and police dog presence.
Furry, four-legged workers are also pitching in to provide therapy for those shaken up from the bombings. This week, Boston will receive canine comfort from five therapy dogs sent from Lutheran Church Charities in Addison, Illinois.
“People talk to the dogs — they’re like furry counselors,” said Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities. “It’s a chance to help bring some relief to people that are shaken up because of the bombings.”
The Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs, who comforted Newtown, CT residents in the midst of the December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, will remain in Boston through Sunday, and possibly longer depending on the needs of the bereaved community.
The extensively trained service dogs are particularly equipped for extremely stressful situations and will be stationed at First Lutheran Church—a few blocks away from the finish line of yesterday’s marathon. The dogs are also expected to visit the area’s hospitals, where over 100 wounded individuals are being treated.
“I would imagine their effect will be the same as it was in Newtown,” Hetzner said. “They bring a calming effect to people and help them process the various emotions that they go through in times like this.”
Our hearts go out to all of those affected by the horrific tragedy.