Tragedy struck Marysville, Washington last Friday when 15-year-old student Jaylen Fryberg walked into the Marysville-Pilchuck High School cafeteria and shot down five other students with a .40 caliber gun. Fryberg then reportedly shot himself in the head. He did not survive. Two of his victims died from their wounds, while three were gravely injured and currently remain in the hospital.
What is even more shocking is that Fryberg not only knew all of the students he gunned down, he reportedly texted them to meet him there. Two of them were his cousins.
To help the school and the Marysville community, all of them who are reeling from these events, three Golden Retrievers arrived Monday to comfort them in their grief. Shami, 6, Luther, 3, and 9-month-old Aaron journeyed from Chicago to Washington as part of the Lutheran Church Charities’ K-9 Comfort Dogs program. Shami and Luther also traveled to Newtown, Connecticut after the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and helped those in the Boston community after the Boston Marathon bombing. Aaron, the youngest, is still in training.
The dogs will remain in Marysville through the rest of the week, traveling to different locations throughout the community in order to do what they can to help.
“We just let them pet the dog, hug the dog, even lay on the dog sometimes,” Tim Hetzner, President of Lutheran Church Communities told ABC News. “As they do that, many times they start talking to the dog.”
The benefits dogs bring to grieving humans are countless. Petting dogs releases the comfort and happiness hormones oxytocin and dopamine in human brains. Studies have also shown the positive influence dogs have on people in therapy, especially children.
Our hearts are with those in Marysville, and we’re glad that these pups can help them through these difficult times in what ways they can.