Therapy Dogs Are Making a Huge Impact in El Paso

El Paso Therapy Dogs

First responders have one of the most difficult jobs in the world. When tragedy strikes, these brave individuals are on the scene to deal with the situation quickly and save lives. Many people consider them true heroes as they show grit, determination, and strength when faced with situations that would make most people turn and run. Despite these traits that most first responders possess, they are still human beings that experience stress from everything that their role entails. They often need to take a little time to process the events of the day and to express their grief. This means that first responders sometimes need some support to cope with everything they face. They need love, compassion, and comfort to help them continue to tackle the tragedies they face daily. Now, there is a new source of comfort and support available to these heroic individuals.

The healthcare employees and the first responders who were involved in the mass shooting in El Paso have been provided with a source of relief, says I Heart Dogs. This relief has come in the form of a group of therapy dogs. Healthcare employees and first responders have been introduced to Ladybug, Chanel, and Rudy. These specially trained therapy dogs were put to work to support people who were grief-stricken following the mass shooting.  Prior to coming to support those affected by the El Paso tragedy, the therapy dogs had worked in San Antonio at the Methodist Healthcare System. There, they had been doing valuable work to support staff, patients, family members, and visitors to the hospital.

Before they began their work in El Paso, the staff from the Methodist Healthcare System took part in a press conference when it was announced that the dogs would head for El Paso to offer their much-needed support. This early morning conference was the beginning of a very busy day for Ladybug, Rudy, and Chanel as they had yet to make the journey to El Paso. To reach their new destination, the three dogs took their very first flight. They boarded the Southwest Airlines plane along with special handlers who were trained to travel with dogs and settle them into their new roles. These special handlers were provided by Service Dogs, Inc. This is a non-profit organization that trains service and therapy dogs, and they were the organization that had originally trained the three dogs heading for El Paso.

A spokesperson for Service Dogs, Inc. posted on their Facebook page about the dog’s exciting journey to their new role. Accompanied by a picture on the dogs on board the plane, the post informed followers that the dogs had safely arrived in El Paso and were already giving those in need unconditional support and love. The spokesperson went on to explain that the aim was to give the first responders the support they needed to help them through the traumatic time.  Rudy, Ladybug, and Chanel are all highly-trained dogs that can recognize the emotional needs of humans. They can identify those who are in crisis, and then connect with them in such a way that the human feels supported in their time of need. This is a special skill that not all dogs possess.

The dogs have already gained a lot of experience of helping those in crisis. Not only have they been working at Methodist Healthcare, but they have also been working at its sister hospital, Del Sol Medical Center. In this setting, they offered support to both emergency room staff and first responders. Those who came into contact with the dogs said that there support lifted their souls and warmed their hearts. This invaluable experience made them the perfect choice to support those involved in the El Paso tragedy. They were already accustomed to working in a hospital environment and supporting people through devastating times.  The first responders in El Paso said that they were left devastated by the mass shooting. The shooting took place in a Walmart store in El Paso on the morning of August 3, 2019, says CNN. The horrific incident left 22 people dead and over two dozen innocent members of the public were injured in the attack.

The alleged shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Allen, surrendered himself to the police. He has since been charged with capital murder and he is being held without bond. Police present following the shooting said that Crusius had a stone-cold look on his face and that he has shown no remorse for his actions.  Immediately after the incident, Crusius drove to an intersection north of the store, got out his car with his hands raised, and identified himself as the shooter to motorcycle police officer Sergeant Enrique Carrillo. While he has been in custody, he has not interacted with the police, although he has been cooperative, and he appears to be in some form of shock.  The families of the victims, the local community, and the emergency services who attended the incident have been left devastated by the events. It has sent shockwaves through El Paso and the police have said they have never had to deal with such a traumatic incident before.

Therefore, therapy dogs are a much-needed source of comfort for everyone involved. The first responders involved have described how their hearts have been ripped open by the shooting. They also said they are devastated by the shooting in Dayton, which took place just a day later.  A spokesperson said that they held everyone involved in their hearts, including the hospital staff and the first responders. They also went on to thank Ladybug, Chanel, and Rudy for the support they have been offering since and described the dogs as having shined a light during a terribly dark event.  This is just another example of the invaluable work done by therapy dogs, as their role is now being increasingly valued by the emergency services, hospitals, and even educational establishments. People are now developing a greater understanding of the many benefits that a therapy dog can bring in terrible circumstances.

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