LOUDON, Tenn. — Jewel, a comfort dog from Loudon County is on her way to Florida to help the building collapse first responders and victims.
Even though Jewel belongs to the Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, Steve and Judy Schoenherr are her primary caregivers.
"Jewel is trained to greet hundreds as she will be doing in Florida next week," Steve Schoenherr said. "A lot of people will pet her and she behaves around all of them"
In Miami, Judy Schoenherr said Jewel will serve as a vehicle for people to open up about their difficulties, and share their story with Steve and Judy.
"People will gravitate to the dog, but then it gives us an opportunity to just let them talk and listen to what their story is," said Judy Schoenherr.
The Schoenherrs encouraged the church to buy Jewel, a trained Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) K-9 Comfort Dog, after seeing the school shooting in Newtown.
"They had the Golden Retrievers that went to Sandy Hook, they stayed there for several months," said Judy Schoenherr. "When we saw the reaction that the children and the adults had with the dogs, we just decided that this was a ministry that we thought we would like to be a part of."
Locally, the Schoenherrs take Jewel to hospitals, nursing homes and schools almost every day.
When there's a big disaster and people request them, LCC dispatches dogs like Jewel around the country. Jewel's first assignment was the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando.
The Schoenherrs are asking for prayers for their safe journey and for the victims of the building collapse.