Deerfield dog, Strudel, offers comfort
Diane Moody, Northbrook Grace Lutheran Church parish coordinator, with Strudel, a Lutheran Church Charities comfort dog. Comfort dogs have assisted the Newtown, Connecticut community. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:34AM
NORTHBROOK — Gently petting the golden retriever with her tiny hand, Rowan Dailey looked down to see the emblem worn on the golden retriever’s back.
“She’s cozy, like a pillow,” said the 4-year-old Northbrook Mustard Seed Nursery School pupil petting Strudel, a 9-year-old service dog hosted since 2009 by Northbrook’s Grace Lutheran Church.
With a group gathered around Strudel, Deerfield resident Diane Moody began to educate her students.
“You know what it says on her vest?” asked Moody, Strudel’s handler and the parish coordinator who has been employed at Grace Lutheran Church for seven years.
There was a friendly reminder: “Please Pet Me.”
“Because some service dogs you’re not supposed to make contact with, but you can with her,” said Moody. “That’s what her job is, she’s a comfort dog, right?”
Strudel, who also calls Deerfield home, is among the original Lutheran Church Charities group of trained dogs offering comfort during times of grief.
Strudel has been invited to funerals and weddings. During crises, LCC Comfort Dogs will take steps to assist families.
Comfort dogs from the Chicago area traveled to Newtown, Conn., “bringing comfort to that very hurting community,” said Moody.
Strudel did not make that trip, remaining locally where North Shore families also responded to news of the fatal Sandy Hook school shooting.
“Strudel does give comfort, she’s cozy, she’s cuddly, she’s very soft and she’s very gentle,” explained Moody, a 1977 Glenbrook North High School graduate.
Moody and her husband, Bruce Holm of unincorporated Deerfield, have one son, Bruce Holm Jr., 17, a Lincolnshire Adlai E. Stevenson High School senior. Strudel lives in Deerfield with Moody and her family.
“ ... I think that you have a connection with an animal that you cannot have with a human,” Moody said. “ Dogs provide unconditional love. They’re confidential. They don’t take notes. They’re equal opportunity friends.”
Strudel regularly visits classrooms and greets those attending Sunday church services.
“We are willing to share her with the community in any way we can,” added Moody.
Said Judy Waldeck, Mustard Seed Nursery School director and teacher: “It’s one of those things (Sandy Hook) that’s mind boggling. You can’t imagine that anything like this would ever happen. It’s horrible.
“It’s going to take them (Newtown community) such a long time for them to even feel normal again. If a teacher sees a child feeling better, that teacher feels better. So it (goodwill) just kind of multiplies …”
Visit Strudel’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StrudelComfortDog.