Comfort Dog Ministry

Comfort Dog News

October 25, 2015

Update about our progress in getting a grant to cover the initial expenses:

  1. Trinity submitted a Ministry Plan to Lutheran Church Charities and they have approved our getting a trained comfort dog through them once the money is paid.
  2. Our application for the special Reformation grant has been submitted. Notification of awards will be sent in January 2016.
  3. Hank Barrington has volunteered to be the Top Dog with his wife Amy assisting him. There is a lot of responsibility involved in being Top Dog, and we certainly thank Hank for his willingness to assume this responsibility.

Comfort Dogs Offer Assistance after College Shooting

After the shootings on the college campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR, in early October, the college president asked Lutheran Church Charities to take some comfort dogs to the campus. A team of comfort dogs—6 fully-trained and two in training—along with 14 volunteers from California, Nebraska, and Illinois (3) went to the campus and stayed for four days after the shooting. They had such a calming, peace-producing effect on the 100’s of people who had contact with them that a second team of eight comfort dogs and 15 handlers were invited to come the first four days after classes resumed. They went to class with students who had been traumatized in particular classrooms. The teams were on campus 12-15 hours each day.

A Dog, YOU, and Prayer!

What does this mean?

On Monday, July 27, the Voters’ Assembly voted to support the Ministry Planning Committee’s proposal to establish a comfort dog ministry at Trinity by…

  1. applying for a special Reformation grant to cover the initial start-up costs of purchasing and training the comfort dog and training nine primary volunteers and
  2. Trinity’s paying for the ongoing expenses to support this comfort dog ministry.

K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry from Lutheran Church Charities on Vimeo.

A Comfort Dog

Is Trinity “going to the dogs”?

Maybe! Actually Trinity is moving forward to own one comfort dog—NOT AS A PET, but a trained, working, service dog to be part of Trinity’s ministry, to energize our members and bring comfort and the Gospel to…

  1. Trinity’s members and
  2. people in the community.

Where did the comfort dog idea come from?

The idea originated with Lutheran Church Charities (LCC), a recognized service organization of the LCMS, after it was called to help rescue pets stranded by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. LCC then developed a comfort dog program to provide a bridge to bring comfort and compassion to people. Today there are 50 comfort dogs working in 21 states!


Where do YOU come in?

The comfort dog is only one part of a comfort dog ministry which can’t function without many volunteers, such as YOU!

  1. Primary volunteers include:
    • a Top Dog (a human!)—program organizer and overseer
    • 2 caregivers—primary and secondary
    • 6 handlers who protect and control the comfort dog on work assignments.
    • Expense-paid training is provided and required for each of these primary positions.
  2. Secondary volunteers: There are numerous secondary volunteers needed. Stay tuned. More information about all volunteer opportunities will be available shortly.


A comfort dog program will provide unique and exciting ways for Trinity to do ministry!

Three essential ingredients needed now:

  1. The grant money
  2. Volunteers
  3. Prayer

As information about the program and volunteer opportunities expands, please ask God to open your heart to be significantly involved in this special ministry.

Additional Information Sources

  • Weekly Sunday bulletins
  • Trinity's Website (
  • K-9 Comfort Dogs
    • Ministry Information Video
    • Meet the Dogs - photos, location
  • August 23, 9:15 am Meet the confort dog at Trinity!
  • September 13
    • At the end of both service - presentation
    • Prospective volunteers indicate intentions
  • Holly Wietfeldt (741-2293)

Trinity Transmitter August 2015

Every once in a while a great opportunity comes along that you just can’t pass up. Maybe you are looking for a used car, and you find one that meets all your criteria, plus it is within your price range! Maybe you are thinking about a new job, and a friend tells you about a position that sounds like it would be perfect for you.

An amazing opportunity presents itself to us at Trinity. At the July congregational voters’ meeting, Holly Wietfeldt, on behalf of the Ministry Planning Committee, presented the opportunity for our congregation to begin a Comfort Dog Ministry at Trinity. A Comfort Dog Ministry, in short, utilizes a Golden Retriever service dog to bring comfort and compassion to people in need of emotional support. As an example of how such dogs can be used, comfort dogs were brought in to the North Mac schools last fall after a gas leak caused illness among students and staff and forced the evacuation and temporary closure of the school. They can be used in numerous situations from nursing home/hospital/in-home visits, in the Preschool and G.R.O.W. in the Son programs, visits to public schools, community events, and any time people in the community would be in need of emotional support.

Through a special Stand with Your Community Grant for outreach, funds are available for Trinity to request to assist our congregation in the purchase of a comfort dog. After our congregation is approved, it would take about a year for a dog to complete the training process.

The voters voted unanimously to begin this new ministry at Trinity. What we need now are members of Trinity to help fill the various volunteer positions that this ministry requires. I’ll spend the rest of my article mentioning then needed positions with the hopes that the needed volunteers will be moved to step forward and volunteer to serve. Please contact Holly Wietfeldt or myself if interested. If you know of someone in our church who would be good for one of these positions, please encourage them!

First would be the program coordinator, the “Top Dog,” who oversees the comfort dog ministry and is the primary communicator with the parent organization, Lutheran Church Charities. The program coordinator would be in charge of scheduling the comfort dog’s work assignments as well as recruiting and organizing volunteers.

We would also need a primary caregiver and secondary caregiver for the dog. The primary caregiver would be the person who would provide the home where the dog would stay and be cared for when it is not working. There are some requirements to this, including that the person must be age 18 or older, and should have no other pets. The secondary caregiver would be a backup for when the primary caregiver goes on vacation and the like.

For the Comfort Dog Ministry program we would also need six dog handlers, people who would be responsible for taking the dog to places where emotional support would be needed. These people should be able to listen well, engage others in conversation, and be comfortable and competent in handling the comfort dog.

And we could use various ministry partners and support helpers, who may serve in ways less directly connected to the ministry visits with the comfort dog but still would provide a valuable service to the ministry.

I am asking our entire congregation to be praying for this new ministry. Also please prayerfully consider how you may be a part of this ministry. We need a good number of volunteers to make this ministry work. It is an exciting opportunity for growth and outreach for Trinity congregation. In the month of August we’ll be providing more information at church, so come and find out more about this unique ministry.

Pastor Kaufmann

August 9, 2015

With recent authorization by the Voters’ Assembly, the Ministry Planning Committee is overseeing the process of getting a comfort dog ministry established at Trinity for the benefit of our members and as Trinity’s outreach to communities in our area by:

  1. Developing a ministry plan for the use of the comfort dog and submitting the plan to Lutheran Church Charities (referenced in the brochure) through which Trinity will get the comfort dog and training.
  2. Submitting an application for a special Reformation grant, requesting funding for the purchase of a trained comfort dog as well as training for the dog’s caregivers and handlers. (Grant awarding will be at the end of January 2016.)

What we ask of you:

  1. Enthusiasm about this new exciting ministry
  2. An indication of your interest in being actively involved in this ministry (More information about how you can do this will come on August 23.)
  3. Prayer that God will grant all of the above.

For more information about the comfort dog program available through Lutheran Church Charities, check out these resources:

  1. A brochure on the information table in the M/P room at church. Please help yourself to a copy.
  2. or on

August 23, 2015

There seems to be lots of excitement at Trinity about our proposed Comfort Dog Ministry. Purchasing a trained comfort dog is only part of the big picture. We need numerous volunteers to maximize the potential of this unique ministry for our church family and in the community.

We are now asking Trinity members to indicate how they are sincerely interested in helping with our comfort dog ministry by completing a Volunteer Interest Inventory. Copies of this inventory are available on the information table in the M/P room at church.

Things you need to know to complete the interest survey.

  1. LCC stands for Lutheran Church Charities, the agency that oversees the comfort dog program in congregations. They have the final say as to who is selected as comfort dog caregivers and handlers.
  2. Training is required for the Top Dog, caregivers, and handlers and is provided by LCC in Northbrook, IL. There will be no cost to volunteers for training/trip-related expenses.
  3. Maintenance expenses for the comfort dog, i.e., food, veterinary services, and professional grooming, will be paid by Trinity.
  4. 4Because the Reformation grant we are applying for will not be awarded until January and it takes a year for a comfort dog to be trained, our program would begin February 2017 at the earliest.

You are asked to ...

  • pray about how you might best be a volunteer in our comfort dog ministry.
  • direct questions to Holly Wietfeldt, 741-2293, or to other Ministry Planning Committee members.
  • Please put your completed Volunteer Interest Survey in the specially-marked box on the information table in the M/P room by Sunday, September 13.

Thank you from the Ministry Planning Committee that is overseeing the initial stages of this program.

Progress Update Re: Proposed Comfort Dog Ministry

DoneApplication and Ministry Plan submitted to Lutheran Church Charities (LCC)
  • LCC conducts a phone interview with Pastor Kaufmann
  • LCC accepts Trinity into its comfort dog program
PendingPending Trinity members give an indication of their interest in being involved in our comfort dog ministry. Interest Inventories containing position responsibilities are available on the information table in M/P room. Deadline for completion: September 13.
OngoingPray that people indicate a serious interest in being considered for key positions as Top Dog, relief caregiver, handlers, and visit helpers

Items on our To Do List

Sept. 13 Special presentation to the congregation about our proposed comfort dog ministry
Sept. 27 (tentative) Submission of grant application