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First comfort dog in Georgia ready to meet community

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Elizabeth (right) waits for her "passing of the leash" ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church (Photo: Ian Dembling)

The first ever “comfort dog” in the state of Georgia arrived earlier this week in Savannah. She is now available for community visits.

Elizabeth, who is often affectionately called "Lizzie" is a comfort dog from Illinois. She is an 18 month old golden retriever.

“She’s a highly trained dog. She’s a working dog, so she knows when she puts her vest on that she’s working," said Karen Monahan, one of Lizzie's handlers.

Nine people were specially trained to be Lizzie's handlers in Savannah. She will wear a special camouflaged vest when she works with Freesemann, who recently retired from the military.

“There’s so many veterans in our country that sometimes just need somebody to talk to. These dogs are meant to help make that bridge so you can begin a conversation," Freesemann said.

Starting at 8 eight weeks old, Elizabeth had to go through more than 2,000 hours of training learning dozens of different commands. Her handlers learned them all within a few days.

“She provides me a lot of comfort. I think her greatest benefit is going to be the comfort that I’m able to show others," Freesemann said.

Lizzie’s handlers say she is now ready to meet the community. They encourage any groups in need of some comfort to give her a try.

Check out Elizabeth's Facebook page by clicking here.

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