Therapy Dogs Comforted Students at Marjory Stoneman High School
1 March, 2018

Therapy dogs from the Humane Society of Broward County were at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday as students returned to class for the first time since 17 people were fatally shot at the Parkland school.  This is one of many occasions when therapy dogs have helped humans cope in the aftermath of a tragedy.

The consoling therapy dogs were there to greet the students

According to a news release, the Humane Society’s animal-assisted therapy teams are at the high school Wednesday, and have been also visiting other local schools and emergency dispatch centers to provide comfort and relief to those impacted by the shooting.  The dogs were there to comfort the students as they went back to high school.

Humane Society officials said the therapy dogs were also present at one of the victim’s funerals.

The attention and affection of an animal is often a source of relief during difficult times like these. Please know that the Humane Society of Broward County is here to help in the best way we can — through the comfort of our animals,” said Marni Bellavia, manager of the Animal Assisted Therapy Program at the Humane Society.

Since Feb. 15, the animal-assisted therapy teams have visited the following locations:

Country Hills Elementary School

Parkland Amphitheater Vigil

Park Trails Elementary School

Broward Health Coral Springs

Heron Heights Elementary School

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

The dogs will continue to offer comfort until the students feel more at ease

The board members of the Humane Society were interacting with students to figure out the pulse of the students. The whole program is about love, support, dialogue, counseling, encouragement, support dogs, support people — whatever the staff and the students need.

The dogs participated in classes all day, made lots of new friends and provided unconditional love and comfort, the agency said, using the hashtag #MSDStrong.

Everyone seemed to be big fans of the therapy dog program, with many posting pictures of the pooches on social media.  And, the Humane Society wants schools to know that they can request a therapy team by contacting their local Humane Society directly.

Once again, dogs have shown how their love and compassion can help us heal from sadness, depression and help put smiles back on our faces.

Photo credit: The Humane Society of Broward County


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