A dozen golden retrievers brought relief to students at Marshall County High School this week.
The dogs are part of Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry program.
Director of K-9 Deployments Rich Martin said the dogs were stationed in the commons area, where the shooting happened, to make it easier for students to be in that space.
“And they got on the floor with the dogs, loved on ‘em, hugged ‘em, petted ‘em...one girl had said ‘the commons area was changed from a place of horror to a place of happy.’” Martin said.
Martin said teachers gave each of their classes time with the comfort dogs. He said they were stationed not only in the commons area, but the auditorium, band room and teachers lounge. Martin said first responders also got their chance to be with the dogs.
He said dogs were put in the vacant classroom seats of Bailey Holt and Preston Cope - the students who lost their lives in the shooting.
“Three of our teams each day had a chance to shadow through the students that were no longer there, through their classrooms and to be beside the empty seats.” Martin said.
Lutheran Church Charities President Tim Hetzner said the program travels wherever they have been invited and comes at no cost. He said the dogs have been to other places that have experienced shootings, including Sandy Hook and Las Vegas.