Therapy Doggo Brings Love and Comfort To Students Following Horrific School Shooting

by Elana

Austin, Texas: the state capitol. An interesting place for a plethora of reasons but of those reasons the most relevant today is Kermit. Kermit is a therapy dog and he lives in Austin where he helps people work through their grief. Grief therapy dogs are something extra-special. They help comfort victims in courthouses, they help people mourn at funerals, and Kermit helped students in Florida after a horrific shooting devastated the country.

Melissa Unfred is Kermit's human caregiver and companion and she just so happened to be in Florida when the latest tragedy occurred, claiming 17 innocent lives and injuring 14 others significantly.

Unfred originally adopted Kermit to be her personal therapy dog because her job as a mortician was very stressful. Kermit helped her cope phenomenally so Melissa knew he would be able to help at least one person. And she knew they had to try to do something, anything.

Unfred turned to Facebook, posting about her time with Kermit and the students in Florida.
"It just so happened Kermit and I were in Florida when this tragedy occurred. Please hold a moment of reverence for this community in your thoughts, and remember to tell others you love them." -Unfred
Wearing his "Therapy Dog, please pet me" vest, Kermit accompanied Unfred to a community center in Parkland on a Friday ready to help.
Kermit rolled around in the grass, and some students stroked his belly. Others held his face in their hands and gazed into his loving eyes. And Kermit, being the good dog that he is, gazed right back.
For Kermit, and therapy dogs just like him, it doesn't take words. His presence was all that was needed to offer love, comfort, and much needed compassion.

Unfred spoke with The Dodo and said, "It's surreal. There's a reverent and solemn feeling in the field. Students have come, along with community members. It's very somber and reflective."

But Kermit was needed. And his presence was so very appreciated.
Unfred said, "Kermit has been snuggled on by students and first responders alike, as well as volunteers. The emotion in the air is palpable. I'm thankful we took the time to come."

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