Therapy dogs help people cope with tragedy after Jo-Ann Fabrics shooting

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Therapy dogs are helping out workers and customers who were inside the Jo-Ann Fabrics store on Monday, when a man shot and killed his ex-girlfriend before turning the gun on himself.

These special dogs are offering comfort to help people cope with tragedy.

Cady Ness-Smith from Love on a Leash believes there’s nothing quite like the love of a furry friend.

“It doesn’t matter how bad your day is,” said Ness-Smith. “I don’t know why but it brings a smile to my face and makes me feel good.”

That’s why when tragedy struck at Jo-Ann Fabrics on Monday, Ness-Smith reached out to the store’s management to lend a helping hand.

“He thought it was a really great idea to have the therapy dogs here for them because it is a really difficult time, especially those employees who were here the day of the incident,” said Ness-Smith.

End Violent Encounters, also known as EVE, is a non-profit organization that helps men and women who have been affected by domestic abuse and violence. Executive Director Erin Roberts says groups like Love on a Leash are needed to help heal communities in tough times.

“I’m glad to see that there are other groups reaching out to bridge this time of grief,” said Roberts.

Roberts says the best way to fight domestic violence is to look for warning signs.

“Being aware of the patterns of course of control in a relationship is really one of the biggest education pieces we can do with the community,” said Roberts

Some of these patterns include power control, such as harming someone’s self-esteem or making them feel like they have nowhere else to turn.

“We’re just ready to support anybody that may need a place to seek counseling or support,” said Roberts.

But with the help of these therapy dogs, working through a hard situation gets easier one sniff at a time.

“I didn’t expect the reaction that we’ve gotten, but I’m very pleased and it makes what we do worthwhile,” said Ness-Smith.

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