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Newtown Thanks Therapy Dogs

Jun 24, 2013 5:13pm

ht newtown dogs 1 mi 130624 wblog Newtown Community Thanks Therapy Dogs that Comforted Them

(Image credit: Vic Neumann)

Therapy dogs were among those that comforted the people of Newtown, Conn., through their darkest days. Over the weekend, they all came together for a day of thanks.

More than 150 community members joined about 50 dogs and their owners and handlers on Saturday to thank them for the comfort they provided through the days and months following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

One of those dog-and-owner teams was Vic Neumann of Avon, Conn., and his dog Vikahn, a leonberger.

Neumann, 67, and Vikahn have been to Newtown to provide a furry shoulder to lean on every week since the shooting, visiting schools and a youth academy. They are volunteers for Therapy Dogs International, an organization made up of more than 24,000 members and even more dogs.

“I’ve only been doing this over a year now and it seemed amazing to me, the impact they can have. It’s indescribable,” Neumann told ABCNews.com. “They are the therapists at the end of the leash.”

He and Vikahn have grown close with the children they have spent time with and Neumann recalled one experience in particular that moved him. He and Vikhan were visiting a Newtown Youth Academy at the beginning of January, just weeks after the Dec. 14 shooting, when a little girl of about 11 or 12 years

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