Following the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a temporary family resource center was set up to offer support to the children and families in the community. Canine Companions facility dogs, along with working dogs from other organizations, joined forces to provide a safe and secure space to for residents to cope with the devastating event.
One of the teams who came to support the community was Cary and Facility Dog Sawyer from Scotty’s House Children’s Advocacy Center* in Bryan, Texas. Cary shares, “When tragedies, like Uvalde’s, take place, we often feel helpless or unsure of how to offer support. This time, it’s different. Sawyer helped children tell their stories, made them giggle and simply be kids.”
“Sawyer, along with our fellow child advocacy centers and facility dogs, offered up the support (and slobbery dog kisses) that they needed most. While the days are long and hot, Sawyer’s patience, gentle nature and love for scratches behind his ears has brought joy and laughter to many faces – young and old,” she explains.
Alongside Cary and Sawyer were Patricia and Facility Dog Ritter from Irving Family Advocacy Center (FAC)*. “[There were] a lot of tears and emotion going on down there, as expected, with the parents, children and even volunteers and workers,” shares Patricia, Ritter’s handler. “One family came in, and as soon as he laid eyes on Ritter, the dad made a beeline to him, and then started talking and really disclosing all his trauma and emotions and anger and sadness, and just really letting it all out. What I noticed was he had talked to Ritter that entire time. He never once made eye contact with me. He was truly telling his story to Ritter.”
Facility Dog Odelia from the Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center*, as well as Canine Companions puppy, Kona, also came to help. They both provided support to families and workers at the resource center in a time of mourning.
When an unexpected tragedy happens, especially in a tight-knit town like Uvalde, it affects the entire community. We are touched to know that our work is making a difference, and we appreciate everyone who supports our mission and makes it possible to move it forward.
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