Students of Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, United States were welcomed back to school on Wednesday by therapists on four legs.
“The attention and affection of an animal is often a source of relief during difficult times like these,” said Marni Bellavia, manager of the Animal Assisted Therapy Program at the Human Society.
Twitter sucks today, so here’s some pics the Parkland kids texted me of their back-to-school therapy dogs pic.twitter.com/IZ7k1oJWr9
— Peter Hamby (@PeterHamby) March 1, 2018
“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.”
Last month, a gunman entered the school and killed 17 people, again sparking debate about gun control in the United States.
NBC News reported that in order to help them cope in the aftermath, students are being treated to video games, candy and more than 40 of the Humane Society’s therapy dogs.
“Hello. I am the parent of a junior at Douglas and we went back on the campus yesterday for the first time since 2/14. We saw your therapy dogs all over, and I just wanted to personally thank you for being present. I hope you have some idea of how comforting and helpful it was to these kids to see,” said one parent as quoted by ABC Local 10 News.
My first period class with our borrowed therapy dog, Woody. pic.twitter.com/NcRkd2E9CA
— Sarah Lerner, Quaranteacher (@mrs_lerner) February 28, 2018
“My daughter and I met Junior, a big bulldog with his tongue hanging out, and she talked about him for an hour afterwards, which is a nice break for her from talking about funerals, deceased friends and even going back to school. It’s such an amazing thing you do.”
The Humane Society said it had also sent its therapy dogs to a range of other local schools and workplaces since the Parkland shooting took place.
A GoFundMe page by the Broward Education Foundation is raising money for victims and their families.