The animals offer their support to the Uvalde memorial
UVALDE – Shirley Graziano and her team of crisis intervention dog are in Uvalde on Sunday offering support to community members in response to the tragic school shooting.
The Crisis Response Canine Team is an Oregon-based organization that responds to crises, traumas and disasters in communities across the United States, according to their website. They rallied to visit South Texas following the school shooting that killed 21 people – 19 teachers and two students.
“Many of us in our group are trained in critical incident stress management, it’s like emotional first aid, and unusually, we really aren’t doing the work; it was really those dogs, just holding the leash,” Graziano said.
Graziano came to Uvalde from Ohio.
“Dogs attract people, especially children; maybe the kids are just traumatized and just don’t want to talk or feel like they’re not being heard. They can sit down, and whether we hear them or only the dog hears them, it really makes people want to open up,” Graziano said.
Mourners could be seen petting and taking pictures with the dogs. The dog crew included golden retrievers, a border collie and other breeds.
“Dogs don’t judge and they will never say anything inappropriate to someone; they are right there. They have nothing to say and just all the love to give,” Graziano said. “We’re hoping to get the message across that we care, we can’t… there’s not much we can do, we can’t make this different, but maybe we can make it a little bit better. I hope we may touch someone.
Earlier this week, dogs from Therapy Animals of San Antonio, an all-volunteer nonprofit, visited Uvalde.
Dogs like Scout, a 6-year-old therapy dog, were at the Uvalde Civic Center to offer support on Wednesday.
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