(CHICAGOTRIBUNE) — A team of golden retrievers made an 800-mile journey from the Chicago area to Newtown, Conn., over the weekend to comfort those affected by the recent school massacre.

Lutheran Church Charities deployed about 10 of the canines Saturday evening for residents who want to pet them while they talk or pray with the dog’s handler, said Tim Hetzner, president of the Addison-based organization.

“Dogs are non-judgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” Hetzner said. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.”

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