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The aftermath of a crisis

It is one thing to bring in therapy teams after a tragedy. They are there on site to comfort and assist those affected. But it is another thing altogether to be part of the tragedy itself. Our volunteers handled the situation beautifully. The dogs were amazing and the human end of each leash remained calm and kept the students distracted throughout the several hours we were locked down with them in UNLV Lied Library. It began as such a joyous occasion as these pre-finals visits always do. Students were lined up outside the room well before our start time. When we arrived to set up, two students were sitting on a bench in the hall waiting. These students wanted to make sure they got in as they heard the crowds get so large. Charlie was the first dog there and these students were the first to hug him! As the room filled with laughing, happy students, everything seemed just like other visits. But at 11:45 I was quietly told there was an active shooter on campus and we were going to be put on a lockdown. This is when the visit changed from a regular de-stressing visit to a crisis visit. As word spread announcements made it clear we were to remain in place. The students that were on the line waiting to be let in our room were led to other areas of the library.  Everyone tried to use their phones but service was sketchy. Each therapy dog had a circle of students around them and the room was eerily quiet. Pet Partners policy states our therapy animals can only work for two hours per day however we went far beyond that yesterday. And the dogs were amazing. The dogs did their job, took breaks by walking around the room and were the best distraction for everyone.

 



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