SICKLERVILLE, N.J. (CBS) — A special group of canines and their handlers have returned home to Sicklerville after providing support to families impacted by the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.
It’s the power of man’s best friend.READ MORE: Philadelphia Zoo Giving Visitors Chance To Feed Giraffes
“We are blessed with special dogs,” John Hunt, Crisis Response Canines chief operations manager, said.
To help a community heal after an unimaginable tragedy, these therapy dogs and their handlers just returned from Uvalde, where 19 students and two teachers were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School.
K9s Axel, Exon and Tarik met personally with many people affected or connected to the terror that unfolded, including students who were inside the building.
“The one young girl who spoke about how she had to use her friend’s blood and she actually sprayed some of her friend’s blood on her to act like she was deceased,” Hunt said.
The Sicklerville-based nonprofit is called Crisis Response Canines. They are fueled by donations and comprised of certified K9 teams throughout the United States.READ MORE: Caught On Camera: 62-Year-Old Man Violently Carjacked By Group Of Teenagers In Olney
The K9s travel locally or across the country to mass shootings, large-scale accidents, natural disasters and other crisis events.
“Our mission is to bring strength and comfort to those individuals and groups, communities and first responders who may have been impacted by traumatic events,” Hunt said.
The handlers say their dogs have a special sense to approach people in distress and help them heal.
“Most children that we interacted with just want to be with the dogs,” a woman said. “They don’t take their hands off them. They want to sit with them, they want to hold them and that’s what we are there for.”
The job isn’t an easy one, but one that makes a difference and it’s life-changing, especially in helping the Uvalde community.
“We were so embraced by the community,” Hunt said. “So respectful, so nice and truly allowed us to come in with open arms and be a part of their family.”MORE NEWS: Russian Media: WNBA Star Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty In Russia Drugs Trial
Along with Robb Elementary School, the team was also deployed to fire and police departments, Uvalde Memorial Hospital and churches to name a few.