UVALDE, Texas (Border Report) — First responders who have come to the small South Texas town of Uvalde are also hurting after Tuesday’s deadly school shooting.
That’s where a little puppy love can help, says Kris Blair.
She and her band of eight therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers are on the ground here urging law enforcement, firefighters and EMT personnel to stop and get a furry hug.
They are part of a group called Canines 4 Christ, and they arrived Wednesday from San Antonio, where they work out of Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston.
“We’ve over here at the scene, we are visiting with 1st responders and letting them just have a minute to decompress knowing that they’re human, too. They have a job to do but they’re also human. And this is difficult for everybody here,” Blair told Border Report.
Normally the dogs help soldiers who are recovering from wounds suffered in the field. But now they are here to give first responders a moment of calm in a sea of tragedy.
“They are taking a minute to say ‘hi’ and to love on the dogs and, of course, they’re very appreciative of us being out here for them,” Blair said.
Leashed to her was Huckleberry, a 4-year-old black and white Labradoodle.
Huckleberry had a harness bearing the state of Texas and on his back, he wore all kinds of identification tags with his name in bold letters and a big round paw print that read “PET ME.”
“They really can’t walk by without smiling so when we see that smile we say wait you got to stop and love on them and they do,” Blair said. “They’re like, ‘We’re so glad you guys are here.’ And we’re so honored to be able to serve those who are serving first.”
Wearing a large silver crucifix around her neck, Blair said all of the dogs go through about a year of training before they are taken into the field to help others.
Blair says no matter the pain they are experiencing, the dogs help to make it all go away.
On Wednesday afternoon, she and her faith-based volunteer group were going to Robb Elementary School where first responders were investigating the deadly shooting where 19 children and two teachers were killed.
Law enforcement killed the shooter after he had barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom where all of the fatalities occurred.