WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - It’s rest and relaxation time for Elijah the comfort dog now that he’s back in Wichita Falls.
Each day for Elijah, and the other five dogs who were in Odessa, was packed from sun-up to sun-down. From dispatch centers to the post office to schools, Elijah and his handler, Eddie Carlton, took the chance for rest whenever they got the chance.
“They take the stress of the people they’re meeting and they take it upon themselves,” said Carlton. “So they need a break.”
“The cumulative of all that, whether you’re the human or the canine, it’s significant,” added Rich Martin, the director of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry.
At the end of each day, debrief became a priority.
For Eddie and the rest of the handlers that meant going over the events of the day with each other.
For Elijah that meant a full body massage.
“Again, just taking away some of that stress they’ve built throughout the day,” said Carlton.
“If you don’t take that time out at the end of the day to take a break, to get a little play-time, to get a little massage time as the canine, that all can mount up pretty quickly,” said Martin.
Lutheran Church Charities requires three to five days of relaxation for both dogs and handlers once they get home from their deployments.
Carlton added, “you’ve got to take time with the dogs and let them relax.”