The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland is one of the worst shootings in the history of America.
A year after the horrifying incident, students have tried to find a way to remember the good things by getting creative with their yearbook.
Yearbook adviser and teacher Sarah Lerner and the staff included a section of comfort in the publication: therapy dogs.
17-year-old Caitlyn Tibbetts, the editor-in-chief, said: “It’s a balancing act. After the shooting, we wanted that yearbook to be perfect and had to cover as much as possible.
“This year, we wanted to give proper representation of our school and who we are now without giving so much focus to what happened to us in the past. The therapy dogs are the one thing from last year that is permanent and positive.”
The positivity the dogs have shown helped staff and students alike. Lerner also said that she found herself amazed by the school’s reaction to the pooches.
“There’s nothing a dog can’t fix,” she expressed. “I’ll be teaching, and in comes a dog, and these big 18-year-old adults all of sudden become mushy five-year-old kids, and it’s been such a comfort for us.”
The dogs included a mix of breeds. Staff and students got to interact with Labradors, golden doodles, golden retrievers and more.
The canines came courtesy of the Human Society of Broward County, Share-A-Pet, Therapy Dogs International, and Canine Assisted Therapy Inc.
While organizing a pictorial for the yearbook, Lerner realized that the service dogs could also have their own photos.
“I told one of their handlers about it, and next thing I know, I had 15 dogs in the room,” she expressed. “We sat them up on chairs, they were smiling for the camera. It was the greatest day of my life.”
The wonderful dogs sat perfectly for photos and the impact it had resonated around the school. “It was such a mood lifter,” Tibbetts said.
“Including them was a really good representation of our school and what we have gone through. Seeing them is something we look forward to every day. These dogs are going to be there until the last of us are gone.”
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