Therapy dogs help students cope with loss
As the Henryetta community has been searching and trying to come to terms with the tragic reality that _ve of their students (and another adult) were senselessly murdered a little over a week ago, other communities have rallied together to show their support for the victims’ families by making t-shirts, signs and having car washes in their honor to raise money for funeral expenses.
Checotah Public School along with Morris Public School also tried to do their part in helping students return to classes and mourn the loss of their classmates.
Checotah sent over four of their employees, Marshall School Counselor Katelyn Walker; High School Counselor Janie Underhill; Denise Dunn, therapy dog handler of Tuck- er and AWARE Counselor Kendall Jones, therapy dog handler of Lila.
“We joined Morris Public Schools therapy dogs and their handlers in traveling to Henryetta Public School to assist in crisis intervention following the tragic loss of several students,” Jones said. “When we walked into the school the atmosphere was so heavy, but as we were there awhile we felt the atmosphere lighten up as the dogs walked through the hallways of the middle school and into classrooms with the students and staff. Both students and staff welcomed the dogs with open arms and enjoyed their presence at the school as they petted the dogs, walked with the dogs, and watched them perform tricks for treats. The students also talked about their own pets and how they helped them cope with the tragedy. As we were leaving one of the staff members of the middle school said that there were no words that they could say to their students that would make them feel better; they just needed something only our therapy dogs could give. This is exactly why we have this program and it was an honor to help our neighboring community who will need time to heal from such immense hurt.”