Therapy dogs arrive in El Paso to comfort victims and families

EL PASO, Texas -- Four-legged healthcare providers are now providing comfort in El Paso.

Three therapy dogs from San Antonio arrived to patients and families of shooting victims.

RELATED: 20 dead, dozens injured in mass shooting at El Paso Walmart

Their handlers say the dogs from the Methodist Healthcare System are specially trained to help people experiencing grief, stress and trauma.

"You will actually see them head straight for a person that's displaying the most distress. It's pretty amazing to watch and it also just lightens everybody's spirits generally," said one of their handlers, Lee Stanphill.

The Methodist Healthcare System says the need for therapy dogs are paramount not just for victims, but for first responders as well.

"The rate of suicides by first responders including firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement, has escalated from one every seven days to one a day," Methodist Health Systems said in a news release. "These dogs can reach places in the heart no human can."

Chanel, Lady and Rudy will visit first responder stations and hospitals in El Paso over the next several days.
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