- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - A charity is set to open a training center for comfort dogs in Grand Island.

The Grand Island Independent (https://bit.ly/1iAGoPU ) reports that Lutheran Church Charities recently announced it will start a new training class in January. The charity is based in Illinois and runs the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry. It says they are looking for volunteers to raise and train the dogs.

The program says volunteers do not need prior training experience to train the dogs who are meant to comfort families and individuals who are suffering pain or loss, and they are deployed to crisis or disaster situations. The charity hopes to have about 12 volunteers to raise the dogs.

Professional trainers will lead the class, which last about two hours each week.

According to Sherry Bolosan, the K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Disaster Response administrator, the trainers commit to raising and training two to three golden retrievers over the course of one or two years. The charity takes care of the dogs financially, but each dog lives with its trainer, who is responsible for the animal’s socialization, veterinary appointments and exercise.

The training program will be the charity’s first outside of Illinois. There are currently three dogs in Nebraska: one each in Cairo, Grand Island and Fremont. K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Disaster Response says it has dogs in 18 states, and will soon be in 22 states total.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com

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