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Northeast Ohio canines head to Buffalo to help in aftermath of racist mass shooting

Crisis Response Canines offer support to community dealing with trauma
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 1:51 PM EDT

LITCHFIELD, Ohio (WOIO) - Zodiac and Murph are heading to Western New York in response to the apparently racially motivated shooting at a Topps Fresh Market in a predominantly Black area of Buffalo.

“We come around people and all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Ahhh, dogs!’” said Shirley Graziano. " It just sort of makes people melt.”

A mother and daughter team of Shirley and her mother, Diane Eyring, getting ready to help, even the dogs understanding the work is important.

“The dogs, absolutely, when they get their vests on, they’re a different dog,” said Eyring. “They know when they’re there to work.”

The work, trying to help the community cope, providing compassion by consoling and comforting after an apparently racially-motivated shooting at a Tops Friendly Market leaving ten people dead, the dogs providing real relief.

“They provide a level of comfort, they help people with decompression and they lower blood pressure,” said Graziano. “I mean, animal assisted therapy is a real thing, it’s been studied, and it really makes a difference.”

And these dogs, unfortunately, have been busy.

“We were in Oxford, Michigan unfortunately for the school shooting,” said Graziano. “We’ve been to Chapman Elementary in Strongsville after a tragic incident about a month and a half ago, we’ve been to the V.A., we’re going there every other week, and next week we’re going to meet some serviceman coming in from their deployment.”

And for the team, they know every visit was worth the trip.

“It’s a good feeling to know that you might have made a difference,” said Eyring.

“If we make a difference in one person’s life for the incent that we’re there for, it’s all worth it.”

It’s a trip to Buffalo this weekend but the real destination is a place a healing.

You can find out how to get involved and to help at the Crisis Response Canines website.

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