Therapy dogs arrive for those impacted by Conception boat tragedy

First responders and the public are comforted

Two therapy dogs from the Central Coast have arrived to comfort first responders and the public near the Conception dive boat memorial. (John Palminteri/

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - First responders and members of the public who are struggling with the loss of lives in the Conception dive boat disaster in the Santa Barbara Channel are getting help from two therapy dogs from the Central Coast.

Cooper and Emerson were strolling at the Santa Barbara harbor Tuesday. The golden retrievers were warming up to members of the U.S. Coast Guard after they came back from a patrol shift.

The dogs were also with people leaving flowers and candles for the victims nearby.

Therapy Dog Owner, Daniel Sievert, said the dogs have a special connection with those in troubled times.

"They feel the heaviness in people's hearts. When they make a connection to their bodies they are picking up the rhythm of their bodies and it's usually off, they are not breathing well and the whole body is reacting differently, so they think 'I need to be close to you,'" said Sievert. "I see people go from a very blank, drawn expression to joy and smiles."

These dogs from Arroyo Grande began serving those who are in distress from major tragedies back during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

They have already traveled 100,000 miles to help hundreds of people get through difficult times.

The sites they have visited include the Isla Vista rampage, the Oso Mudslide, and the area where hotshots died in Prescott, Arizona.

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