Pet therapy teams aim to help Parkland school shooting victims’ families in court

(Photo courtesy: Broward State Attorney’s Office)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – There was a short break during the first day of the Parkland school shooter’s death penalty trial on Monday in Fort Lauderdale.

A black dog named Aibo was waiting in a hallway for the grieving families.

He is a volunteer for Canine Assisted Therapy.

Elise Samet, the organization’s program manager, said the Oakland Park-based nonprofit organization has 100 teams on call.

”They provide comfort. They provide stress relief and it is non-judgmental,” Samet said.

The dogs have to pass the Canine Good Citizens Certification, a 10-skill test designed by the American Kennel Club.

Canine Good Citizen is a 10-skill test that teaches good manners to dogs and responsible dog ownership to their owners.

”The truth is they are not made, they are born,” Samet said.

The dogs have to be at least 1 year old, so the “puppy energy” doesn’t get in the way of their mission, Samet said.

”Therapy dogs need to know when to be calm,” Samet said. “They just have to know how to read the energy.”

For more information about the program and about how to make a donation, visit www.catdogs.org.


About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.