Dogs
Therapy dogs comfort grieving families after Texas Elementary School tragedy
These pups just want to help these families feel the slightest bit of comfort.
Michael Dabu
06.13.22

On May 24, 2022, a shocking incident happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and is now considered the deadliest school shooting in the state. It’s when 18-year-old suspect, Salvador Ramos shot and fatally killed 19 students and 2 teachers.

The entire world was in total shock and we are one with the grieving community, especially the families left by the unfortunate victims. Aside from the unending prayers, dogs are also doing their part in easing the immeasurable pain brought by the incident.

Therapy dogs are gathering to do their part during the healing process.

These canines are visiting schools, churches, hospitals, and other places where their help is badly needed. Compared to humans, therapy dogs comfort people who are going through something without ifs and buts.

They are just there to listen without even a single ounce of judgment.

How do they do it? Of course, by what they do best, giving people their smiles, wagging tails, and unending cuddles.

A local church and city officials contacted Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) to ask for their assistance. They immediately stepped into action by sending eight of their K-9 Comfort Dogs right on the day when the shooting incident happened.

The eight golden retrievers who responded to the emergency call were Elijah, Miriam, Abner, Triton, Gabriel, Joy, Cubby, and Devorah.

These canines were just the first batch of therapy dogs that arrived on the scene. Soon after, five more K-9 Comfort Dogs came in and joined the squad.

In a Facebook post, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs wrote: “Eight LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams stayed in the square to offer comfort to the community as they searched for the names of their loved ones. We listened to stories, prayed and cried together. Please continue to keep Uvalde, TX and our ministry in your prayers as we continue to be present for those who are suffering and in need here.”

The Crisis Response Canines, on the other hand, sent six teams of handlers together with their therapy dogs named Tarik, Exon, Axel, Zodiac, Murphy and Macy.

In their Facebook account, they wrote: “Family, friends, community, Robb Elementary School, hospital and First Responders remain the priority. Sadly services have commenced and these assignments are quite sad and emotional. Again, CRC will not break that sacred trust and disclose intimate personal and painful details. We simply ask that you pray that we are able to comfort those who mourn.”

More and more therapy dogs gathered to make things somehow lighter for everyone.

A local nonprofit called Therapy Animals of San Antonio also added a team of therapy dogs to help in the healing process. They shared photos of their dogs while in action and wrote on their social media account: “Our Crisis Animal Response Teams (CARE) were in Uvalde this week providing comfort to children, families and counselors affected by this terrible tragedy.”

Canines 4 Christ, another animal-assisted therapy ministry contributed by sending six teams and one team (Team Grayson) shared their wonderful experience on the ministry’s social media account.

They discussed how their dog, Grayson, gave the children the chance to open up about their feelings and become a source of happiness at the same time.

“I want to share one of the stories with you. There were three girls who shared they were the girl’s cousin as they sat next to Grayson. As they pet Grayson, they began to process out loud. One spoke of how they all painted angels and gave it to their parents. Another shared how they lit a candle. The other spoke of the paintings too and the little girl’s name and shared what it meant. As they processed, their voices began to rise with more and more excitement. Through Grayson, they began to laugh and we offered for them to give him treats. They could not get enough of him.”

While some organizations have extended their help by giving stuffed animals out to the children so they have something to divert their attention to while they’re at home.

The community of Uvalde couldn’t be more thankful to all the handlers and comfort dogs who unhesitatingly offered help. It is true that moving on from that tragic day isn’t easy and the tomorrow of everyone grieving right now isn’t going to be the same anymore. However, we still believe that time heals all wounds and we hope it includes those wounds in the grieving families’ hearts.

We are all praying for crime-free schools, colleges, and universities. Hopefully, a promise of a “safer” education will be guaranteed to all of us, especially to those in the community of Uvalde.

Watch GMA’s report about this story in the video below.

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By Michael Dabu
hi@sbly.com
Michael Dabu is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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