On Sunday, Methodist Healthcare sent three emergency services facility dogs trained in crisis management to El Paso to comfort hospital staff and first responders providing care to victims of the violent incident.
"Our first responders and hospital staff see so much every day and never really have an opportunity to really process that during their shift," Brandon Miller, a handler at Methodist, told KENS 5.
The dogs are trained more than standard emotional support animals. These canines — Rudy, Lady and Chanel — specialize in providing comfort to first responders and hospital employees who have experienced high-stress situations. During their trip they will make the rounds at area hospitals and first responder stations.
Miller said many people feel better after playing with the dogs. Lee Stanphill, another handler, said the animals have an instinct about those in crisis, and will often walk toward the person displaying the most distress.
Methodist Healthcare's helping hand comes after 22 people were killed and 26 injured in a mass shooting committed by 21-year-old Patrick Crusius. According to a manifesto titled "The Inconvenient Truth" that Crusius posted online shortly before the shooting, he wanted to stop the "Hispanic invasion of Texas." He has reportedly been charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty.
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