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Indiana service dog gives comfort to family of fallen hero

KOKOMO, Ind. — An Indiana service dog has been given the responsibility of carrying forth the name of a local hero and comforting a family still stricken with grief.

Koontz the dog has already developed a deep connection with Howard County Deputy Carl Koontz’s widow, Kassandra Koontz, and their son Noah, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

Koontz is part of the Indiana Canine Assistant Network, which trains and places working or service, dogs with children and adults living with a disability. Many of the group’s dogs are named by sponsors in memory of a lost family member or friend.

“What better way to name somebody after someone, to honor them with a dog that in their spirit can bring so many things to not just this person who needs to heal, but to the public, to the community,” said Denise Sierp, the director of development and outreach for the group.

Koontz is currently in training to be a service dog at the Pendleton Correctional Facility and appeared at events like the March 20 balloon release event held in honor of the one-year anniversary of Carl Koontz’s death.

“When he goes out in the community, he’s telling the story about being named in memory of someone who was very important, not only to his loved ones but to the community,” said Sierp. “So, through that and through family members, people like Kassie, he does help with her grief work.”

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