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Therapy dogs return from helping Parkland community grieve

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Therapy dogs return from Parkland, Florida: Christie Ileto reports on Action News at 11 p.m., February 22, 2018 (WPVI)

A group of volunteers and k-9s spent the last several days spreading the gift of love to the families and students impacted by the Parkland school shooting.

They returned Thursday, exhausted from 5 nights and 4 days on the road.

Cici, Kelsey and Minnie are just a few of the paws from the Tri-State K-9 Response Ready Team, ready to serve communities in need - this time, Parkland, Florida.

"When we went down it was difficult as it always is because we're walking into a situation where a whole community at large is in crisis," said handler Janis Campbell.

In total 6 therapy dogs and their handlers, all volunteers of the non-profit organization, helped grieving families and student survivors push past the initial pain of the slaughter that unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"In the process of relaxing you can perhaps deal or speak to someone," said Deborah Perian, of the Tri-State K-9 Response Team. "Children or a counselor that they couldn't articulate before that."

Day after day the therapy dog's uniquely provided peace to a grieving community while the team listened to stories of survival.

"It's just a moment in the beginning of healing that people can exhale," said handler Ruth Osman. "We heard so many stories that were just horrific. Some of them really want to make a statement, and others are just trying to get through to the next day. It was definitely worth going and helping them express whatever feelings they had."

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