ALLEN, Texas (KXAN) — Amid the tears and prayers at the memorial formed outside the Allen Premium Outlets, a special group of visitors Monday morning were able to put smiles on more than a few faces.

Seven golden retrievers with Lutheran Church Charities’ Comfort Dog Ministry and their handlers stopped at the scene of Saturday’s deadly mass shooting that left eight people dead, offering a calming distraction for those gathered.

The group has a network of K-9 teams that respond to crises and disasters. More than 100 dogs are based out of churches across the country.

(Photo: Frank Martinez, KXAN)

“The hope that we bring people, they’re very grateful when we’re here and they thank us,” Bonnie Fear, the group’s crisis response coordinator told KXAN.

Fear said golden retrievers make ideal response dogs because of the breed’s temperament.

“They love people,” Fear said.

Here’s how you can learn more about the Comfort Dog Ministry