Reuben the Comfort Dog

James Casner and Reuben the Comfort Dog with children in Las Vegas.

Amid the aftermath of Sunday’s deadly shooting in Las Vegas, some solace is being provided by Reuben the Comfort Dog.

Reuben, who is from the First Lutheran Church in Yuba City, is one of many Lutheran Church Charities’ K-9 Ministry dogs that are in Nevada at hospitals, schools, churches and visiting with first responders.

“Last night, we got to the hotel about midnight and it wasn’t far from the where the shooting took place,” said James Casner, one of Reuben’s handlers. “The night clerk and others who were there when we arrived said people came rushing into their hotel looking for hiding places during the incident.”

Casner, a Yuba City resident, said Reuben immediately helped provide comfort to some of the hotel workers.

 “The hotel worker said she saw people running into the lobby bloody from the shootings and broke down crying,” Casner said. “Others were breaking down and talking.”

Tuesday morning at about 7 a.m., Casner said they began visiting hospitals, churches, schools and wherever else they were needed. 

“Every once in a while, we’d run into someone who said they needed comfort dogs there, so we changed gears and helped them out,” Casner said.

Casner and Bonnie Sloan, Reuben’s other handler, are one about 17 of the church’s comfort dog teams from around the country that are at or being sent to Las Vegas to help. 

“There’s still a lot of people stumbling around in disbelief,” Casner said. “Some people are still looking for answers and dealing with the grief.”

He said they plan on staying for about a week, but, if needed, will stay longer.

“We’ll be here as long as they need us to meet with the families of the victims, law enforcement officers, first responders,” Casner said. “All are hurting, so we’ll be working with them.”

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