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Therapy dogs from across the country visit site of Buffalo mass shooting

Posted at 6:02 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 18:02:40-04

Tri-state Canine Response Team has brought wagging tails, big furry smiles, and an ample amount of much needed love to Buffalo. The group of owner and dog pairs have visited law enforcement and the surrounding community over the past two days.

"I love the puppy dogs. They are very much so needed. They definitely brighten people's spirits. They're just happy," Tiequion Baines, a community member who was comforted by the dog, said.

Since 2015, this all-volunteer group has been traveling to mass tragedies to help make the community smile.

"Our first deployment was to the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, and then we were in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Mandalay Bay was another response that we went to. California for the wildfires. Boulder, Colorado. El Paso, Texas for the Walmart shooting, Indianapolis, just too many. Too many places," Janice Campbell, the founder and president of the Tri-State Canine Response Team, said.

Diego, a black lab, drove 17 hours with his mom from Florida to be here. Mallie, a chocolate lab, came form Delaware with her mom. Other dog owner pairs came from New Jersey.

The pup's owners are trained disaster relief crisis counselors.

"We're the CIT ambassador dogs. When something happens in different states, we get the request to deploy and come out to assist in the community for community resiliency and recovery," Campbell said.

Community members said these pups have made a massive difference over the past few days.

"They can feel your emotions. They can feel when you're hurt, when you're sad. They always know what to do. They lick you, give you kisses," Lenaysha Dabney, a community member who was comforted by the dog, said.

"Just to see a smile come on somebody's face in the middle of that is just a true blessing for us," Pamela Bolden, Tri-State Canine Response Team's School Liaison, said.

If you'd like to help support this group throughout their Buffalo stay, visit their GoFundMe.