Group of dogs travel to Maine to comfort, support those struggling after shooting

Oct 30, 2023, 10:50 AM

In the wake of the deadly shootings in Lewiston, Maine, dogs are offering comfort and support to pe...

In the wake of the deadly shootings in Lewiston, Maine, dogs are offering comfort and support to people struggling. Mandatory Credit: WCVB

EAST BOSTON, Massachusetts (WCVB) — In the wake of the terrible tragedy in Maine, a group of dogs is answering the call to offer comfort and support to those struggling.

Zodiac, 3, is fresh off a plane at Boston’s Logan International Airport from Cleveland. The pup is one of five dogs preparing to head to the mass shootings in Lewiston.

The dogs are part of an organization called Crisis Response Canines — a non-profit dedicated to providing emotional support in the aftermath of unimaginable situations.

“It just makes it a moment in their life that they, just, it’s that one moment of happiness and joy instead of everything just being so heavy and sad and hard,” Graziano said.

Graziano, Zodiac’s handler, has seen the positive impact of the dogs firsthand. She described the time she comforted a woman in Uvalde, Texas, following the Robb Elementary School shooting.

“She said, ‘I don’t speak any English,’ and I said, ‘I don’t speak any Spanish.’ And the next thing you know, she’s crying on his head, hugging me, crying in my arms, and we couldn’t even speak each other’s language,” Graziano said.

As for Zodiac’s purple tail, there’s a reason for it.

“We were minding our own business, and we walked by, and she stopped us, and she said, ‘Does he have a purple tail?’ And I say, ‘Yes.’ And she’s like, ‘Can I ask why?’ I said, ‘Because of what just happened right here. You were in a really bad place and for these split seconds he made you think of something else that was happier,’” Graziano said.

The canines deployed to Lewiston will start by visiting first responders. They will also be at any vigils and public community events.

They’ll be providing support until Wednesday.

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Group of dogs travel to Maine to comfort, support those struggling after shooting