INDIANAPOLIS — The greater Indianapolis area continues to see horrific tragedies like mass shootings, a multitude of fatal vehicle crashes, homicides….the list goes on and on.

At Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, their goal is to bring comfort to those affected by these tragedies (first responders, active military and veterans, victims and their families, teachers, students, etc.) through the love and compassion of man’s best friend, dogs.

Meet Naomi.

Naomi works at Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School in Indianapolis. She serves every single day in the Indy community and can deploy in times of disaster and crisis to bring comfort to humans affected by loss, no matter how big or small.

Naomi was born on April 15, 2015, and was placed with LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry on July 6, 2016. Her team consists of six handlers and seven ministry partners. Her team also includes two Veteran team members.

Naomi and her team spend approximately 2,000 hours per year completing community outreach and travels over 500 miles per month to regularly scheduled appointments and scheduled events.

Her “Top Dog” or owner, Kathy Megazzi, has worked with Naomi ever since she joined the ministry and is with her every day. The two found each other after Megazzi found the ministry’s contact card while she was cleaning her classroom one day. Megazzi was formerly a teacher.

“I’ve always loved golden retrievers,” said Megazzi. “I’ve always wanted to train golden retrievers as guide dogs and I did that in 4-H when I was young. So when I found that business card, I turned it over and researched and called.”

The rest is history.

From there, Naomi and Megazzi formed a team of handlers and helpers that take Naomi out into the community six days a week to reach out to those affected by loss in the greater Indianapolis community.

Naomi and her team have responded to anything from mass shootings, like the FedEx shooting, or simple visits to nursing homes to lighten hearts.

“It takes the right person, I think, to go out to these tragedies and offer support and comfort,” said Megazzi.

“[Naomi] changed my life tremendously because she lives with us. I get to work with her in the ministry but then she gets to come home and be a normal dog.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from the LCC Comfort K-9 ministry, or to learn more about it, you can visit their website at www.K9comfort.org.