Since even really stupid, useless dogs can be wonderful companions, it stands to reason that especially intuitive dogs can effectively help people cope with the most devastating kinds of psychic trauma. Jeffrey, a nine-year-old Staffordshire terrier that was hours away from being euthanized when he was rescued and discovered to be a naturally-gifted therapy dog, had such a calming effect on Emma Wishneski, a girl who will soon enter the fourth grade at Sandy Hook Elementary.
When Jeffery’s owner Michele Houston brought him to Christmas party for students at Sandy Hook, he formed an immediate bond with Emma, who, according to a story from Today, stayed with the 73-pound therapy pit bull throughout the entire event. Although Emma was fortunately late to school the morning of Dec. 14, the shooting claimed the lives of several of her friends and teachers.
Therapy dogs have been deployed on college campuses to help stressed students deal with exam anxiety, and they’ve helped amateur thespians overcome holiday burnout to put on a damn mediocre Nutcracker. Jeffrey’s role in helping a little girl get ready for a new school year after a truly horrific school shooting is, however, a different level of therapy — his visits to Emma have made her feel a level of security she might not have ever experienced without him: